Most women do not get recommended mammograms

Dec 09, 2010

Only half of eligible women in the United States are getting their annual mammograms, even if they have insurance to pay for the procedure, according to data presented at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Last year the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of non-federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, recommended that the age of first mammogram be lifted from 40 to 50 years of age, at which biennial mammography begins, and caused a public outcry. To date, no major insurance company or other organization has acted on that recommendation.

"Women reacted strongly to that recommendation with protests about their right to have an annual mammogram that should not be taken away," said Milayna Subar, M.D., vice president and national practice leader for oncology at Medco Health Solutions, Inc. in N.J. "Interestingly though, we found that a large percentage of women do not get regular ."

Subar and colleagues reviewed medical claims between January 2006 and December 2009 from a database of more than 12 million people. All participating women had either employer-provided insurance or Medicare.

Among those who were 40 to 85 years of age, only 50 percent had a mammogram in any given year and only 60 percent had two or more mammograms over four years. Average annual mammography rates were 47 percent for women aged 40 to 49 years, 54 percent for women aged 50 to 64 years and 45 percent for women aged 65 years and older.

The researchers did not examine reasons as to why the were not getting mammograms, but several theories exist, according to Subar. Among these theories: discomfort from the test, lack of available screening centers, general non-compliance or denial.

Explore further: In lab tests, the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan spurs growth of breast cancer cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sebelius: Women should get mammograms by age 40

Nov 18, 2009

(AP) -- Women should continue getting regular mammograms starting at age 40, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, moving to douse confusion caused by a task-force recommendation ...

Age 50 as mammography screening threshold proven unfounded

Sep 30, 2010

The landmark breast cancer screening study of women 40-49, published online in Cancer, has proven that annual mammography screening of women in their 40s reduces the breast cancer death rate in these women by nearly 30 per ...

Recommended for you

Skin cancer rates five times higher than in 70s

2 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—The rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are now five times higher than 40 years ago, according to figures announced by Cancer Research ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Researchers compare hip width and sexual behavior

In a new study, women who were more inclined to have one-night stands had wider hips, reveals Colin A. Hendrie of the University of Leeds in the UK. He is the lead author of a study into how a woman's build influences her ...

How many moons does Venus have?

There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, ...