Disparities in mammography screening in rural areas: analysis of county differences in North Carolina

J Rural Health. Winter 2002;18(1):77-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2002.tb00879.x.


The extent to which targeted mammography programs have impacted women in rural areas is not well defined. We investigated mammography screening rates among 843 women age 50 and over from a population-based sample in four predominantly rural eastern North Carolina counties. We examined age, race, education level, county of residence, health insurance, and the self-reported completion of mammography in the past year using contingency tables and logistic regression. African American females aged 65 years or older had the lowest reported mammography rates (42%), while white females aged 50 to 64 had the highest rates (58%). Uninsured women and those with less education were less likely to have received a mammogram. Logistic regression demonstrated that age, education, and health insurance were significant predictors of mammography completion. A county-level analysis revealed that three counties had similar rates and one county had substantially lower rates. A higher-than-expected rate of screening-mammography completion among African American women was noted in one predominantly rural county served by a breast cancer screening program. Logistic regression analysis confirmed that county was a significant predictor for mammography completion. In separate regressions run by race, county remained a significant predictor for African American women but not for white women. Differences in mammography screening appear to persist in some predominantly rural areas and are related to age, race, education, and health insurance. Programs that target hard-to-reach women with efforts tailored specifically to their needs may be effective in reducing persistent racial differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population