Timing of follow-up after abnormal screening and diagnostic mammograms

Am J Manag Care. 2011 Feb;17(2):162-7.


Objective: To evaluate woman-level characteristics associated with timing of follow-up after abnormal mammograms in an integrated healthcare system with an active breast health program.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Methods: The study included women aged 40-84 years who had an abnormal mammogram (20,060 screening and 3184 diagnostic) recommended for follow-up. We compared characteristics of women who received any follow-up evaluation within <7, 8 to 14, 15 to 21, and 22 to 180 days. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using multivariate ordinal logistic regression.

Results: The proportion of women seeking care within 7 days was 23% for screening and 69% for diagnostic mammograms. Characteristics associated with later follow-up (>8 days vs <7 days) after an abnormal screening mammogram included being older (OR=1.15; 95% CI, 1.04-1.26 [age 70-79 years]; OR=1.31; 95% CI, 1.14-1.51 [age 80+ years]), Asian (OR=1.18; 95% CI, 1.04-1.33), or having a college degree (OR=1.10; 95% CI, 1.01-1.19). Characteristics associated with earlier follow-up included family history of breast cancer (OR=0.93; 95% CI, 0.88-0.98), symptoms at time of mammogram (OR=0.79; 95% CI, 0.70-0.88), or extremely dense breasts (OR=0.82; 95% CI, 0.69-0.96). For diagnostic mammograms, symptoms at time of mammogram (OR=0.47; 95% CI, 0.39-0.56) and being obese (OR=0.79; 95% CI, 0.65-0.98) were associated with earlier follow-up.

Conclusions: Several woman-level characteristics were associated with timely follow-up after an abnormal screening exam, but only presence of symptoms and being obese was associated with timely follow-up after an abnormal diagnostic exam.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Washington