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Mammogram Task Force Defends Recommendations

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While they concede they "communicated very poorly," members of a U.S. government-appointed task force are holding firm on a controversial new recommendation that most women shouldn't get regular mammograms until age 50.

Appearing before Congress Wednesday, the task force leaders explained their guidelines have mistakenly been taken to mean that women under 50 should forgo mammograms altogether. But their true message is that women under 50 should discuss the issue with their doctor in order to make the choice that's best for them, CBS News reported.

Some doctors are ignoring that advice and still recommending annual mammograms for their female patients.

The lead doctors on the task force also faced questions about another contentious recommendation regarding breast self-exams.

"The task force recommended against clinicians teaching women breast self-examination. They did not recommend that women not pay attention to their bodies," task force report co-author Dr. Diana Petitti told lawmakers, CBS News reported.

"Well, how are women to get that knowledge?" asked Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, asked. "They can't just get it by intuition!"

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