Background: The objective of screening mammography is to identify breast carcinoma early, which requires routine screening. Although self-report data indicate that screening utilization is high, the results of this population-based assessment indicated that utilization is lower than reported previously.
Methods: The authors compared New Hampshire population data from the 2000 Census with clinical encounter data for the corresponding time obtained from the New Hampshire Mammography Network, a mammography registry that captures approximately 90% of the mammograms performed in participating New Hampshire facilities.
Results: The results showed that approximately 36% of New Hampshire women either never had a mammogram or had not had a mammogram in > 27 months (irregular screenees), and older women (80 yrs and older) were less likely to be screened (79% unscreened/underscreened) compared with younger women (ages 40-69 yrs; 28-32% unscreened/underscreened). Of the screened women, 44% were adhering to an interval of 14 months, and 21% were adhering within 15 months and 26 months. The remaining 35% of the women had 1 or 2 mammograms and did not return within 27 months.
Conclusions: Routine mammography screening may be occurring less often than believed when survey data alone are used. An important, compelling concern is the reason women had one or two mammograms only and then did not return for additional screening. This area deserves additional research.
Copyright 2005 American Cancer Society