Dangerous new mammogram guidelines

What do you call a group of doctors who ignore years of research to push a self-serving agenda so they can keep earning millions while ruining untold lives?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

(Actually, a few other names come to mind -- but that's the only one my editor will let me use here.)

ACOG has just released a new set of guidelines that call on more women to get more mammograms than ever before -- and starting from an earlier age than ever before.

Forget that studies have found absolutely no benefit to screening low-risk women in their 40s (including a recent one in the Annals of Internal Medicine). Clearly no one is reading them anyway.

The ACOG must be banking on the fact that most people are completely ignorant of studies like this one, because in their latest set of guidelines, they say that women need to start lining up for mammograms once they're "over the hill" -- no matter what.

No family history of breast cancer? Doesn't matter.

No suspicious lumps? Who cares?

The bottom line is, of course, the bottom line. The only people who stand to gain from these unnecessary tests are the docs who prescribe and perform them. First, you'll need to visit your GYN for your mammogram referral, and then you'll need to schedule the mammogram itself.

And if you're really "lucky," you can have it done in the convenience of an all-in-one full-service "women's health" clinic.

The only conflict that could possibly be more blatant would be radiologists backing more frequent mammograms. And, by the way, radiologists HAVE backed having more frequent mammograms -- so there you have it.

Would any of this matter if mammograms were useful or necessary? Of course not! But time and again, they've not only proven to be un-useful and un-necessary, but also un-accurate and un-safe.

So forget these new guidelines.

On second thought, don't forget them. Remember them -- and the studies that prove they're a bunch of hooey. And the next time your daughter (or granddaughter!) mentions getting her yearly checkup, send them her way.

You might not be able to stop the docs from giving the mammograms, but you can certainly have a hand in stopping the women in your life from getting them.