Understanding of Mammography Differs Among Races

Better breast health education needed among minority, underserved women, study finds

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MONDAY, Nov. 26, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Ethnicity, culture and background shape women's attitudes toward mammography, say Boston University Medical Center researchers who surveyed 1,011 women who underwent screening mammography at the center.

The women were asked about their understanding of mammography and their preferences regarding call-back after a screening mammogram yields a suspicious finding.

White women strongly preferred call-back given the possibility of early detection of cancer, compared with black and Hispanic women. Almost one-third of black and Hispanic women thought mammography would detect more cancers than it actually does.

The study also found that 76 percent of white women said they'd continue getting routine screening mammography after a false-positive result, compared to only 56 percent of black women and 48 percent of Hispanic women.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, in Chicago.

"Women's health-care decisions and adherence to routine health screenings are affected by cultural factors, educational background and access to medical care. Our study shows that we need to improve breast health education among minority and underserved women," principal investigator Dr. Priscilla J. Slanetz, an associate professor of radiology at Boston University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

"Mammography does save lives, but only when cancer is detected early. Most recalls are for benign causes and should not deter further screening," Slanetz said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about screening mammograms.

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, Nov. 26, 2007


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