Scientific advisers urge effort to get more women to have mammograms

Government advisers, who say too many American women skip mammograms, are recommending better access to the breast-cancer scans. The Institute of Medicine, while acknowledging that tests are not perfect, say only about 60 percent of the women old enough to need routine mammograms get them. The institute cites a number of reasons, including a growing shortage of providers. The panel says that may be because of low insurance reimbursement for mammograms, rising malpractice litigation and fewer radiologists choosing breast imaging instead of other specialties.

The shortage is cropping up as more women -- an additional one-point-two (m) million each year -- become old enough to need routine mammograms. The panel says no more than three dozen breast-imaging subspecialists -- radiologists with the most mammography expertise -- enter the profession each year.