The Takeaway: Breast Cancer; Medicare Age Proposal; Lagarde

Lots of breast cancer news to sort through this morning: From the L.A. Times: A 30-year trial by Swedish researchers has found regular mammograms can reduce breast cancer deaths by at least 30 percent, “a finding that many doctors say may help ease the recent controversy surrounding the procedure.” A little background: Last month the  U.S. Preventive Services Task Force caused a stir after recommending that women should wait until they are 50 to begin annual mammograms – up from the long-standing guideline of 40 years old. The argument: The screenings are unnecessary, provide too many false diagnoses and save relatively few lives in the long run. Navigating diagnosis, treatments, survival.

Another one: Avastin’s “off-label” use for breast cancer could be revoked by the FDA. The agency, which is wrapping up hearings on the issue today,  is not convinced the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks. Doctors and patients argue that the drug is crucial. UPDATE: FDA panel votes to revoke Avastin’s use as a breast cancer treatment. … One more: After  breast removal surgery, doctors usually recommend radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells – especially among older, high risk patients. Studies have proven that the post-mastectomy treatment does increase survival rates. Yet, between 1998 and 2005, “only approximately 55 percent of older high-risk breast cancer patients who should have undergone radiation actually received it.”   So why aren’t older breast cancer patients getting radiation? … 

Top Democrats say no to Lieberman, Coburn proposal: The response was swift to a new bill aimed at reducing the federal debt by raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. The plan would cut $600 billion from the federal debt over 10 years. What Washington’s 2011 fiscal wars mean to you.Could the debt-ceiling limit affect Social Security checks? Maybe. If the issue isn’t resolved by the August 2 deadline, the government may not be able to meet 44 percent of its obligations, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Christine Lagarde, new managing director of the International Monetary FundChristine Lagarde. The first woman to head the International Monetary Fund has proven once again that people over 50 are more connected than ever. Lagarde, 55, took to Twitter soon after being appointed and even used Twitter and Facebook to campaign for the job. More on the new IMF chief.

Interesting take on Vitamin D and melanoma: A new study suggests that women who were diagnosed with non-melanoma forms of skin cancer should take Vitamin D supplements to lower their risk of getting melanoma.

… Do you like how you’re portrayed on film? A look at Boomer directors and their role as gatekeepers of the 50+ image on screen.

(Photo: Jacques/AP)