Women over the age of 70 in the Isle of Man are not going to be formally invited for breast screening.
Ramsey MHK Leonard Singer wanted the recall service to be extended so people were reminded they had the choice of going for a mammogram.
He told Tynwald that as one-third of cancers occur in women in their seventies - lives could be saved at the cost of just a letter, envelope and stamp.
But Health Minister David Anderson said doubts were being cast on the benefits of screening and money could possibly be better spent on trying to prevent other cancers.
Tynwald voted in favour of Mr Anderson's amendment which means nothing will change until an expert report on the effectiveness of screening is considered.