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The government entity which brands its recommendations as the “gold standard” for clinical prevention has issued some controversial new guidelines for breast health, which is naturally something we focus on closely.

Often a little too closely.

Anyway, what entity are we referring to?

Yeah … it’s called the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, or USPSTF, and it’s a division of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which itself is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Phew … talk about a mouthful.

Speaking of (tee-hee!), let’s get back to the point.

According to these alphabet soup researchers, women over the age of forty should undergo routine mammograms and all women should conduct regular self-exams.

At least that was until yesterday … when all of those recommendations were basically reversed.

Now, women are being instructed to (gasp!) stop all self-exams and to postpone getting routine mammograms until age fifty.

Sheesh.  What’s next?  Are they going to scrap the beloved “buddy system?”

Because that would be too much for us.

The cold, unfeeling (literally) logic behind these recommendations is that too many women are getting “false positives” – which result in costly, unnecessary biopsies.

So much for the whole “early detection saves lives” thing.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for those who fight cancer for a living to come out swinging against the new guidelines.

“With its new recommendations the (task force) is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them,” the American Cancer Society said in a statement.

Some have also speculated that those evil insurance companies pushed the USPSTF to publish the guidelines because they’re sick of paying for the exams, essentially making this a form of health care “rationing.”

Others say the USPSTF published the guidelines to make people think the insurance companies are evil.

Either way, we’d like to state for the record our continued opposition to cancer, and our firm support of regular self-exams and the buddy system.  Oh, and of buddies letting us firmly assist them in their examinations.

It’s all about the greater good around here, people …