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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wades into the mammogram fray

November 18, 2009 |  4:05 pm

Sebelius The reaction to this week's U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation against regular mammograms for women under 50 was swift, emotional and highly public. Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius weighed in, pointing out that, well, the task force is actually just an independent panel offering advice, not setting policy, so ... just do what you've been doing.

Seriously. "My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important lifesaving tool in the fight against breast cancer, and they still are today. Keep doing what you have been doing for years — talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions and make the decision that is right for you."

Here's her full statement.

(Enjoy the fallout, task force folks! You're on your own!)

If you want to know more about that panel, check it out here.

By the way, it's sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an agency that — we'll say it if few others will — is known for producing excellent work based on science, not emotion. That agency is within, yep, the Department of Health and Human Services.

Here's the original story: Mammogram guidelines spark heated debate

Plus a blog post on the reaction: Don't like those new mammogram recommendations? You're not alone

And here's today's story: Mammography outcry points to trouble for healthcare reform: Some Republicans say the new recommendations are an example of "rationing" that would take place under President Obama's plan to save money by basing treatment on experts' advice.

— Tami Dennis

Photo: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she wanted to address recent confusion head on. Address it, she did. Clear it up? Perhaps not.

Credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images