Objective: To describe the results of breast cancer screening among low-income and uninsured women in the only national organized screening program in the US, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).
Methods: We analyzed mammography and diagnostic follow-up data for 789,647 women who received their first mammogram in the NBCCEDP and 454,754 subsequent mammograms among these women. We calculated the rate of mammograms with abnormal findings, diagnostic follow-up, biopsy, and cancers detected per 1000 mammograms by age and racial or ethnic groups. Positive Predictive Values (PPVs) were estimated for abnormal mammograms and biopsy.
Results: Nearly 64% of the women screened in the program were from 50 to 64 years of age and about 46% were members of racial or ethnic minority groups. Women aged 40 to 49 years had the highest rates of abnormal mammograms and of diagnostic follow-up. However, cancer detection rates were highest in women aged 60 to 64 years. In addition, the PPVs for both abnormal mammograms and biopsy were highest in the oldest age group.
Conclusions: Cancer detection rates and PPVs for both abnormal mammograms and biopsy were highest in women aged 50 years or more. These results support the programs focus on screening women aged 50 and older for breast cancer.