Practice Guideline Briefs

Breast Cancer Screening and Socioeconomic Status



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Am Fam Physician. 2006 Jan 15;73(2):346.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report on breast cancer screening for women in 35 major metropolitan areas in 2000 and 2002. Data for the report were collected from surveillance surveys and the 2000 U.S. Census. The findings were published in the October 7, 2005, edition of Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report and can be accessed online at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5439a2.htm.

More than 250,000 women 18 years and older were interviewed to determine general demographic status and were asked if they had ever had a mammogram. Those who answered yes were asked the date of their last mammogram. Analyses for this report focused on women 40 years or older. Of these women, 9.6 percent had household incomes of less than $15,000 per year, and 23.7 percent had incomes of $15,000 to $34,999 per year. Overall, 78.5 percent reported having a mammogram during the two years preceding the study. Among women who reported annual household incomes of less than $15,000, 68.4 percent received a mammogram in the preceding two years; 75.3 percent of women with household incomes of $15,000 to $34,999 and 82.5 percent of women with household incomes of more than $50,000 had received a mammogram in the preceding two years. Women who did not complete high school or were never married and women who had no health insurance had lower mammography rates than those who were college graduates or had married, or who had health insurance.

The report shows that women with household incomes of less than $15,000 per year were less likely to have had a breast cancer screening test in the past two years than wealthier women, especially those living in affluent areas. Women with less education also were less likely to have had a mammogram.

The CDC suggests that women not eligible for Medicaid who do not have employer-sponsored health care may receive breast and cervical cancer screening through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp).


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