Discovery explain limit changes to mammograms and pap smears

Some of the Afternoon Drive listeners have raised concerns about Discovery Medical Scheme’s new guidelines limiting screening tests for breast and cervical cancer.

Head of Discovery Centre of Clinical Excellence, Dr. Noluthando Nematswerani, says the changes around the frequency of screening has been informed by global trends and clinical evidence that Discovery has gathered.

The new changes allow some members screening tests for mammograms and pap smears every two years, as opposed to the previous plan which allowed tests annually.

We are not saying members must not screen. But what I would like us to discuss is the literature that talks about the difference between doing it yearly or two yearly.

Dr. Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of Discovery Centre of Clinical Excellence

The data that's actually out there does not show much superiority between bi-annual versus annual screening.

Dr. Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of Discovery Centre of Clinical Excellence

We are creating a high risk member basket for those members who have family members who have had breast cancer or have had breast cancer themselves.

Dr. Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of Discovery Centre of Clinical Excellence

Nematswerani says their screening rates are very low, and they want to get new people to make use of it.

Listen to oncologist and breast cancer surgeon, Professor Carol Benn, talking about effects of these changes on patients in the audio below...

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