Panel Stands Behind New Mammogram Advice

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The doctors who helped create the government's new guidelines for mammograms are standing by their controversial recommendations.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has been blasted for saying most women do not need mammograms in their 40s --as recommended by the American Cancer Society-- and should only get one every two years starting at age 50.

The independent panel said their report was based on "up-to-date, accurate information about the harms and benefits of treatment."

Now, the nation's top health official is trying to calm the debate.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the panel does not set federal policy and that the guidelines would not determine what polices are covered by the federal government.

"Our recommendations are do what you've always donem read the task force report, but then talk to your doctor," she said.

Nicole Kurokawa, with the Independent Women's Forum in Washington, joined CBN News with a reaction to the new government guidelines.

Is this the beginning of rationed health care? Click play for Kurokawa's answer.

The panel denied accusations the numbers were made to help the government spend less on mammograms.

Meanwhile, cancer hotlines and doctors offices have been flooded with calls following the release of new government guidelines.

Now, patients are confused and many doctors are questioning the new policy.

"Whoever is coming up with this ridiculous recommendation," said breast cancer survivor Linda Benitez. "I think they need to think twice."

Gabrielle Ringquist, who received a routine mammogram screening, said she is disturbed by the policy.

"I find it shocking," she said.

The new recommendations also raised concern over whether insurance companies would stop covering mammograms for women younger than 50.

"I may not be politically correct, but I think that this is really about money and politics," Dr. Peter Jokich of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., said. "It's about the beginning of rationing care."

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