Re "Kaiser ahead of curve" (Page A1, Feb. 18): I applaud Kaiser Permanente's efforts to encourage and provide screening mammography.
Surveys reveal only 50 percent of women in California get regular annual screening mammograms, and only 17 percent of women who have no health insurance.
We have known since the mid-1960's that mammograms lower women's chances of dying from breast cancer by about 30 percent. Repetitive studies on multiple continents since have confirmed those results which are likely an underestimation of the benefits.
A worthwhile discussion is when to start mammograms, what type of mammogram to offer, to what age, and what additional testing should be used to find early treatable breast cancer? Perhaps the most important question is why so few women avail themselves of this life saving examination, and how we could make it available to every woman.
-- Daniel E. Herron, M.D., Fair Oaks