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Many Breast Cancer Survivors Skip Mammograms

Study finds that only one-third of patients receive annual mammograms five years after treatment

MONDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- During the five years after breast cancer treatment there is a steady decline in the number of patients who receive annual mammograms, according to a study published online April 24 in the journal Cancer.

Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and colleagues reviewed mammography use in 797 breast cancer patients over the age of 55.

The researchers found that 80 percent of patients underwent mammograms during the first year after breast cancer treatment. At five years after treatment, however, only 63 percent had received a mammogram that year and only 33 consistently received a yearly mammogram. The researchers also found that patients under the care of a gynecologist or primary care physician were the most likely to have mammograms in the fifth year.

"There was a progressive decline over time in the use of mammography among this cohort of breast cancer survivors," the authors conclude. "Efforts are needed to increase awareness among health care providers and breast cancer survivors on the value of follow-up mammography. The current study findings highlight the importance of maintaining ongoing contact with primary care physicians and gynecologists."

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