Background: Two previous reviews found that access-enhancing interventions were effective in increasing mammography uptake amongst low-income women. The purpose of this study was to estimate the magnitude of the effect of interventions used to increase uptake of mammography amongst low-income women.
Methods: Searches were conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE (2002-April 2012) using relevant MeSH terms and keywords. Randomised controlled trials which aimed to increase mammography use in an asymptomatic low-income population and which had as an outcome receipt of a mammogram, were eligible for inclusion. The primary outcome was the post-intervention difference in the proportion of women who had a mammogram in the intervention and control groups. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. We calculated summary estimates using random effects meta-analyses. Possible reasons for heterogeneity were investigated using sub-group analyses and meta-regression. Publication bias was assessed using Egger's test.
Results: Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria, including 33 comparisons. Interventions increased the uptake of mammography in low income women by an additional 8.9% (95% CI 7.3 to 10.4%) compared to the control group. There was some evidence that interventions with multiple strategies were more effective than those with single strategies (p = 0.03). There was some suggestion of publication bias. The quality of the included studies was often unclear. Omitting those with high risk of bias has little effect on the results.
Conclusions: Interventions can increase mammography uptake among low-income women, multiple interventions being the most effective strategy. Given the robustness of the results to sensitivity analyses, the results are likely to be reliable. The generalisability of the results beyond the US is unclear.