News | Breast Imaging | December 29, 2016

Breast Cancer Screening Disparities Exist for U.S. Minorities

More Work Needed to Ensure All Eligible Women Gain Access to Mammography, a Preventive Screening Tool

December 29, 2016 — Significant differences exist in breast cancer screening rates for racial groups in the United States — potentially negatively impacting the health of black and Hispanic women, notes a Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR) study.

“Not only do black and Hispanic women get screened less than white women, but disparities also persist in two age groups: women who are 40 to 65 years old and 65 and older,” said study author Ahmed T. Ahmed, MBBCh. “These findings are important; it’s evident that more work needs to be done to ensure that all eligible women have access to this preventive screening tool,” added Ahmed, postdoctoral fellow researcher at the  Evidence-Based Practice Center and Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, both at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in this country, with more than 231,000 cases diagnosed each year and resulting in more than 40,000 breast cancer deaths. Early detection of breast cancer with mammography significantly improves breast cancer survival, detecting cancer early when it’s most treatable and can be treated less invasively.

Data from more than 6 million women in 39 studies were used in the article “Racial Disparities in Screening Mammography in the United States: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” No differences in screening mammography utilization were observed between Asian/Pacific Islander and white populations.

The article authors note that the breast cancer screening community has dedicated an enormous effort to develop racially and culturally specific interventions to address screening deficiencies, with varying degrees of success. More studies are needed to understand the reasons for disparities, trends over time and effectiveness of interventions targeting disparities.

For more information: www.acr.org

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