Screening mammography among nursing home residents in the United States: Current guidelines and practice

J Geriatr Oncol. 2018 Nov;9(6):626-634. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2018.05.005. Epub 2018 Jun 4.


Objective: United States (US) guidelines regarding when to stop routine breast cancer screening remain unclear. No national studies to-date have evaluated the use of screening mammography among US long-stay nursing home residents. This cross-sectional study was designed to identify prevalence, predictors, and geographic variation of screening mammography among that population in the context of current US guidelines.

Materials and methods: Screening mammography prevalence, identified with Physician/Supplier Part B claims and stratified by guideline age classification (65-74, ≥75 years), was estimated for all women aged ≥65 years residing in US Medicare- and Medicaid- certified nursing homes (≥1 year) with an annual Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 assessment, continuous Medicare Part B enrollment, and no clinical indication for screening mammography as of 2011 (n = 389,821). The associations between resident- and regional- level factors, and screening mammography, were estimated by crude and adjusted prevalence ratios from robust Poisson regressions clustered by facility.

Results: Women on average were 85.4 (standard deviation ±8.1) years old, 77.9% were disabled, and 76.3% cognitively impaired. Screening mammography prevalence was 7.1% among those aged 65-74 years (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 6.8%-7.3%) and 1.7% among those ≥75 years (95% CI, 1.7%-1.8%), with geographic variation observed. Predictors of screening in both age groups included race, cognitive impairment, frailty, hospice, and some comorbidities.

Conclusions: These results shed light on the current screening mammography practices in US nursing homes. Thoughtful consideration about individual screening recommendations and the implementation of more clear guidelines for this special population are warranted to prevent overscreening.

Keywords: Health service utilization; Nursing homes; Screening mammography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States