March 30, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
photo of Sarah Nowak, Ph.D. (left), and Brian Sprague, Ph.D.
(MARCH 30, 2023) Researchers at the UVM Cancer Center released the findings of a study showing fewer women being screened for breast cancer, NBC5 reported. The study shows that Vermont had the second-largest drop in the entire country in screenings for women over the age of 40 between 2009 and 2018. “In 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued new guidelines around breast cancer screening,” said Sarah Nowak, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Larner College of Medicine, who was part of the research team. Before the 2009 guideline change, all women over the age of 40 were advised to have screenings for breast cancer at least once every one to two years; however, the 2009 recommendations said only women between ages 50-74 needed to be screened that frequently. “We would expect to see that the guidelines would lead to decreased screening for women in their 40s and women 75 and older, but what we found was that it’s also leading to decreased screening for women ages 50 to 74,” Dr. Nowak said. The research team, which also included Brian Sprague, Ph.D., professor of surgery, biochemistry, and radiology, found that women in Vermont, in all age groups, were being screened at almost two times less than the national average. Missing recommended mammograms could mean a later breast cancer diagnosis and less positive outcomes, Nowak warned. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Read full story