November 25, 2009

United States Preventive Services Task Force --Just doing their job

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was established as an independent scientific review body for the express purpose of reviewing the scientific evidence and making recommendations based on that evidence, independently and without political influence.  Their recent recommendations regarding routine screening for mammograms has erupted into a huge political maelstrom that is continuing with hearings in the House, distancing by the White House, and calls for the abolishment of the USPSTF--with the intent to replace it with an "advisory" panel that would have more accountability and oversight by the Federal Government.

The USPSTF provides a valuable service through their extensive review and analysis of existing scientific evidence and their recommendations are meant to help inform and guide our decision-making--they are recommendations, afterall.

Whether a person agrees or disagrees with the recent mammogram recommendations released by the USPSTF, or indeed with any of their recommendations, and chooses to act on it, is entirely an individual decision that is best made in collaboraboration with a primary care physician; but it is important that we remain informed of what the scientific evidence is telling us when it comes to health care, preventive services and treatment.  This information should not be colored by the prevailing political opinions of the day, nor by diverse opinions on either side of  the issue.  

I believe the USPSTF should be allowed to continue as an independent, scientific review committee--objective evidence may not always be what we expect or want to hear, but we need to be informed of it nonetheless. 

What are your thoughts?

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