Racial and ethnic differences in mammography use among U.S. women younger than age 40

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Jan;113(2):327-37. doi: 10.1007/s10549-008-9919-2. Epub 2008 Feb 9.


Objective: Evidence-based recommendations for routine breast cancer screening suggest that women begin mammography at age 40, although some women receive a mammogram before that age. Little is known about mammography use among younger women, especially with respect to race and ethnicity.

Methods: We used data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey to examine racial/ethnic differences in mammography use among U.S. women ages 30-39. We examined descriptive characteristics of women who reported ever having a mammogram, and used logistic regression to estimate associations between race/ethnicity and mammography use among women at average risk for breast cancer.

Results: Our sample comprised 3,098 women (18% Hispanic, 13% non-Hispanic [NH] black, 69% NH white), of whom 29% reported having ever had a mammogram. NH black women were more likely than NH white women to report ever having a mammogram and receiving multiple mammograms before age 40 among women of average risk. Patterns of mammography use for Hispanic women compared to NH white women varied.

Conclusion: Findings suggest differential utilization of mammograms by race/ethnicity among women outside current recommendations and of average risk. Future studies should examine the role of practice patterns and patient-provider communication.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Risk
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology