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Not All Women Getting Mammographies

Poor, uninsured and some minorities still face barriers to screening

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- There are still significant disparities in mammography screening rates in the United States, says a Rush University Medical Center study.

While those disparities have improved over the past decade, a large percentage of women in several groups still face barriers to mammography screening, the study says.

They include: women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds; the uninsured; women without a usual source of care; the elderly; recent immigrants; women in rural areas; and women in certain racial-ethnic minorities such as Native Americans/Alaskan Natives and Hispanics.

All these groups obtained mammography screenings at a much lower rate than the rest of the population, the study says.

"We also found that there is evidence that the actual magnitude of these disparities, particularly among low-income racial/ethnic minorities, is underestimated, and that disparities persist for some subpopulations of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and African-Americans," study author Dr. Monica Peek, an internist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, says in a prepared statement.

The study, which reviewed published literature about mammography screening, appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Several methods were identified that seem to help increase mammography screening rates. For example, outreach programs that target individuals directly in health-care settings increased mammogram use by 17.6 percent compared with similar efforts in a community setting.

"We found that the most effective patient-targeted strategies to increase mammography use are access-enhancing efforts, such as mobile vans, transportation services and reduced cost mammograms," Peek says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about mammography.

SOURCE: Rush University Medical Center, news release, Feb. 13, 2004
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