Objective: To compare breast cancer screening rates from the 1991 survey with data from 1987-88 for women aged 65 to 74.
Design: Surveys of women from five communities.
Settings: Five control communities of the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Screening Consortium.
Participants: White, non-Hispanic women, ages 65 to 74; 499 in 1987-88 and 2156 in 1991. Response rates for the first survey wave ranged by area from 65% to 77% and for the second survey wave, from 62% to 85%.
Main outcome measure: Mammogram and clinical breast examination during the past year and performance of monthly breast self examination, with the screening rates in wave 2 directly standardized to the income and education distribution of wave 1 in each area.
Results: Mammography use between waves increased significantly (P < 0.05 after adjusting for education, income, and age) in all but one area (from 19% to 33% in wave 1 to 35% to 59% in wave 2). Among women who had a mammogram, the percent who also had a clinical breast examination decreased between waves from 95% to 85% (P = 0.001).
Conclusions: Mammography in older women increased dramatically over 3 years, although the use of clinical breast examination may be decreasing.