Background: Breast cancer screening can be an effective tool in the early detection of breast cancer but remains underused by women in the United States.
Methods: We analyzed data from 22,657 women (2,068 black women, 707 Hispanic women, and 19,882 white women) who participated in the 1990 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance state-based telephone survey. Using the recommended guidelines of the American Cancer Society for breast cancer screening, we examined utilization rates by demographic and selected variables, stratified by ethnic groups.
Results: Of the women included in the analysis, 47% of both black and Hispanic women and 50% of white women reported having had a recent mammogram, and 68% of black women, 59% of Hispanic women, and 66% of white women reported having had a recent clinical breast examination (CBE). Important predictors of the use of breast cancer screening procedures for each group were having had a routine examination in the past year, having seen an obstetrician or gynecologist or specialist during the last routine examination, and more than a high school education.
Conclusions: Many women are not having mammography and CBEs. Efforts to increase screening must focus on encouraging providers to use CBEs as a screening tool and to recommend mammography. Strategies should be developed to increase the use of these procedures among women, particularly those of low income and low education levels.