SCREENING: GAPS FOUND IN BREAST CANCER TESTING
Date: 19 July 2010 | Source: The New York Times | Author: Roni Caryn Rabin
One-fifth of American women ages 50 to 74 have fallen behind on mammography screenings for breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting.
Although the percentage of women in this age group who get a regular breast cancer screening every two years increased steadily during the 1990s, the rate has remained just over 80 percent since 2000, according to the centers’ Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report is based on data collected from surveys given to 120,095 women in that age range.
Black women were found as likely as white women to have had a recent mammogram, with rates for both groups at just over 80 percent. But only 70 percent of Native American women said they had been screened recently.
Rates varied by region as well, with the highest found in the Northeast. In the less-populated West-Central states, with fewer mammography clinics, the rates were lower.
Uninsured women were among those least likely to have been screened: only 56.3 percent.
“The good news is that rates among African-Americans are equal with those of whites, but we want to get the rates up even higher,” said the author of the report, Dr. Marcus Plescia, who is director of the disease centers’ division of cancer prevention and control. “We’re optimistic the new Patient Protection and Affordability Act ought to make a difference.”
The C.D.C. examined mammography rates only among women ages 50 to 74. Mammography recommendations for younger women are mixed, and a Preventive Services Task Force panel recently recommended against routine screening of women in their 40s.
A version of this article appeared in print on July 20, 2010, on page D6 of the New York edition.