Objectives: This study investigated racial differences in mammography use and their association with physicians' recommendations and other factors.
Methods: The study used 1988 survey data for 948 women 50 years of age and older from the New Hanover Breast Cancer Screening Program. Racial differences in terms of physician recommendation, personal characteristics, health characteristics, and attitudes toward breast cancer and mammography were examined. Factors at least minimally associated with race and use were included in multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine the effect of race while controlling for other factors.
Results: In comparison with White women. Black women were half as likely to report ever having had a mammogram (27% vs 52%) and having a mammogram in the past year (17% vs 36%). Black women also significantly less often reported physician recommendation (25% vs 52%). Although Black and White women differed significantly in other characteristics, multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that physician recommendation accounted for 60% to 75% of the initial racial differences in mammography use.
Conclusions: Understanding physicians' recommendations for breast cancer screening is a critical first step to increasing mammography use in disadvantaged populations.