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The controversy over when to start checking for breast cancer may all be for nothing, according to the country's leading government health official.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has told women to keep doing what you've been doing. Ignore the recommendations. And she said she wants women to remember that the government task force behind the study does not set federal policy and does not determine what services are covered by the federal government.

Many women have followed the American Cancer Society's long-standing position that women should get their mammogram starting at age 40. That is based on research of early detection benefits.

So, doctors say they are pleased with today's comments from Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. They say it will calm the storm of confusion.

There's been a lot of public uproar and concern from people concerned there would be not enough coverage or that this might have governmental impact from this study and the health secretary reassured people appropriately that -- that is not the case, said Dr. Mark Koch.

Dr. Koch serves on the board of the American Cancer Society and said he is relieved that the mammogram controversy may now get some rest with the Health Secretary telling women today to keep doing what they were doing for years and to check with their individual doctors.

Patients and their physicians should be more informed about what all is going on, Dr. Koch said. And people should take a more active role in their screening.

And now that the government is changing course on their controversial recommendations, Dr. Koch says one positive thing did come out of the past few days.

I think there's been more awareness about breast cancer in the last three days than there has in the last two decades, he said. I believe the awareness has probably saved many lives because they are going to go and get some kind of screening done.

Health Secretary Sebelius said it is clear more research is still needed to look into ways to help women prevent and fight breast cancer, citing the evidence from this new task force saying that there are so many false positives on mammograms that it's too expensive.

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