Many Women Ignore Yearly Mammograms

JUNE 01, 2005

Despite numerous public service campaigns emphasizing the importance of mammograms, only a small percentage of women follow the recommended guidelines. Yearly mammograms are recommended for women age 40 and older. Data from >72,000 women who had mammograms from 1985 to 2002 at Massachusetts General Hospital's Avon Comprehensive Breast Center revealed that only 6% of women who had a mammogram in 1992 received all the annual screenings available to them over the next decade.

As for subgroups, the researchers found that women from lower income levels received fewer mammograms, compared with wealthier women. Also, Hispanic, African American, and Asian women got fewer mammograms, compared with other women. Experts noted that women cannot rely on their physicians or their health plan to remind them when to have the test. Therefore, women must develop their own plan to follow the guidelines.