Black Women in U.S. Get Fewer Mammograms

Advanced breast cancer more likely in black women than white women

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Black women in the United States tend to have longer intervals between mammograms than white women, which could help explain why black women have more advanced breast cancer at diagnosis, according to a study in the April 18 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Rebecca Smith-Bindman, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues studied 1,010,515 women aged 40 or older who underwent one or more mammograms from 1996 to 2002.

There were a total of 17,558 breast cancer diagnoses, and the researchers found that, compared with white women, fewer black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women had undergone the recommended number of mammograms. Advanced breast cancer tumors were also more prevalent in black women than white, Asian and Native American women.

"Tumor characteristics may also contribute to differences in cancer outcomes because African-American women have higher-grade tumors than white women regardless of screening," the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, Mary B. Barton, M.D., of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, Md., notes that the study findings "provide an incentive for efforts to increase regular mammography among all U.S. women."

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