While the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force stirred controversy last November when it released its new breast cancer screening guidelines, early statistics show that many women are taking the new recommendations to heart.
Across the country, health centers are reporting a 35 percent decline in the number of mammograms they've performed since the guidelines were released about four months ago, the Daily News Online reports.
While some analysts attribute the drop to a high unemployment rate and more Americans opting out of health insurance, health officials are skeptical.
Ruth Melvin, manager of the Columbia Regional Breast Center, told the news source, "We've been going through tough economic times for the last two years, and we hadn't seen any drop in the number of patients before."
She added, "I can't think of any other reason why, except that women are using the task force's recommendations."
The task force advised that women delay mammograms until they turn 50, to avoid exposure to radiation, unnecessary biopsies and emotional distress.
In response, the American Cancer Society and American Society of Breast Surgeons maintained that women should be screened for breast cancer each year starting at age 40.