This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Sometimes new health advice conflicts with old advice. Yet new guidelines last week for breast cancer testing in the United States created a storm of debate. The advice came from experts who are appointed by the government to develop guidelines for preventive services, like mammograms.
The experts advised most women to get fewer mammograms. They said the risk of needless treatment outweighs the good from more tests. The new advice is to get tested every two years, instead of yearly, and to start at age 50 instead of 40.
The task force must not consider medical costs. But critics accused the Obama administration of trying to limit mammograms to save money.
The administration pointed out that the current members of the group were appointed during the last administration. And officials said the study had begun long before the latest debate on health reform.
The House of Representatives passed health care legislation earlier this month. And the Senate agreed Saturday to begin full debate on its own bill.
The secretary of health and human services said the new advice would not affect government policies. Kathleen Sebelius advised women to "keep doing what you have been doing."
Some say they worry that health plans might pay for fewer mammograms now. But every state except Utah requires insurance companies to pay for testing women in their forties.
There appeared to be less reaction later in the week when a different group released new guidelines for cervical cancer testing. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the timing was just by chance.
The new guidelines say women age 21 to 29 only need to get aPap test every two years instead of yearly. Girls are advised to begin testing within three years of when they first have sex, or in any case no later than 21.
A Pap test looks for abnormal cervical cells that could become cancer. Doctors may remove suspicious growths. But the experts say that in most cases in young women, these growths would go away by themselves. Removing them can lead to problems such as scarring and the need for Cesarean births later.
Cervical cancer is highly curable if it is found early. Pap tests have saved countless lives. Today most of the deaths are in countries with poor health care.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. For more health news, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Barbara Klein.
mammogram: an x-ray image of the human breast, used to detect tumors or other abnormalities 乳房X光摄影片
cervical cancer: cervical cancer is a disease in which the cells of the cervix become abnormal and start to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors 子宫颈癌
Pap test: a method of examining stained cells in a cervical smear for early diagnosis of uterine cancer 巴氏子宫癌检验法
Cesarean: of or relating to a cesarean section 剖腹产的
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（Source: VOA 英语点津编辑）