We hope that the government and private health care insurers will do as Health Sec. Kathleen Seblius says they should do — ignore the new mammogram guidelines from the latest U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The task force concluded that women should not be subject to yearly breast cancer screening starting at age 40. The task force recommended screening every other year from 50 years of age to 75.

What the task force ignored, however, is that after screening began at age 40 in the early 1990s, breast cancer dropped by about 30 percent, according to a report released by the American Cancer Society this year. Also, at least 40 percent of the patient years of life saved by screening are among women under 50.

Those are statistics too significant to ignore. The task force got it wrong. Our health care system has been providing mammograms for women beginning in their 40s for 20 years now, and it should continue.

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