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ACP-ASIM Calls on Health Insurers to Continue Providing Insurance Coverage for Screening Mammography

Mammograms Called Vital Weapon in Fight Against Breast Cancer

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) is urging all health insurers to continue to provide health insurance coverage for screening mammography, based on evidence that mammography can be beneficial in detecting cancers at an earlier stage and improving outcomes.

"Despite mammography's demonstrated effectiveness as a screening tool, the College is deeply concerned that a single article appearing in a 2000 issue of The Lancet has begun to erode the confidence in mammography that has been built over the last two decades," said William Hall, MD, FACP, president of the ACP-ASIM, in letters to the American Association of Health Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and the Health Insurance Association of America. "Numerous independent, expert groups in the United States and Europe have repeatedly reviewed the world's major clinical studies on mammography, and consistently found it has contributed significantly to the decline of breast cancer mortality since 1990."

Dr. Hall points out that there will be many thousands fewer breast cancer deaths among U.S. women this year due to the progress medicine has made in early detection combined with improved therapy—lives that will be lost if women are dissuaded from getting regular mammograms.

"ACP-ASIM believes mammograms are a vital weapon in the physician's arsenal in detecting and treating breast cancer in its earliest stages, and that maintaining access to this service is absolutely crucial," said Dr. Hall. "As such, we urge your organizations' member plans to continue to offer mammography as a benefit, and assure you that our members, as well as the vast majority of physicians, will continue to promote such screening for our at-risk female patients."

The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine represents more than 115,000 physicians and medical students. It is the largest medical specialty society and the second largest medical organization in the United States.


Jack Pope, (202) 261-4556, jpope@acponline.org
Jennifer Whalen, (202) 261-4575, jennw@acponline.org

Page updated: 11-04-03

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