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New Mammogram Guidelines Catching Heat

Publication: KXII-TV (ABC), Sherman

The American Cancer Society is catching some heat after changing its recommendations for when women should get mammograms.

The age the American Cancer Society now recommends women without history or genetic mutation start getting mammograms has been raised to 45.

The age was previously 40.

It's a controversial move that many, including breast cancer survivor Janis Fletcher disagree with.

"A mammogram saved my life. My physician could not feel the lump in my breast because it was too close to my chest wall, it was reveled in a mammogram," Fletcher said.

Oncologist Anand Shivnani said the recommendation is just that, a recommendation.

"They're not guidelines that we have to apply for every patient. Every woman needs to talk to their own doctor about what age they should start getting mammograms," he said.

The American Cancer Society said they changed the recommendation because age 45 is when a woman's risk of breast cancer spikes.

They said in some cases a woman is more likely to be hurt than helped by mammograms, producing a false positive and unnecessary testing.

But Wilson N. Jones Director of Radiology Brad Sidlo doesn't agree.

"The benefits far outweigh the risk, again with women being one in every 8 being diagnosed with cancer," he said.

He fears if women follow the recommendation they'll miss catching the cancer early.

"It's hard enough because of anxiety to come get your exam, but it's critical again for early detection," Sidlo said.

Fletcher said as a survivor she just wants make sure everyone who hears the words "you've got breast cancer" are as lucky as she is.

"The sooner they detect the breast cancer the more likely of a cure and the more likely it will not repeat," Fletcher said.

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