Breast cancer screening compliance changes as women age

By Kate Madden Yee, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

October 21, 2019 -- Women seek out breast cancer screening at different rates as they grow older and begin to cope with other major illnesses, according to a study published online October 16 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

"An understanding of how mammography use naturally evolves as people age may help better target specific populations and improve overall use of preventive care," wrote a team led by Dr. Cindy Yuan, PhD, of the University of Chicago.

To assess the influence of additional disease and age on mammography use, Yuan's team used data for 36,575 women older than age 40 taken from the 2011 to 2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The group defined mammography use as a woman having undergone a mammogram within the previous one or two year, and used a statistical model to evaluate associations between use, comorbidities, and age.

The researchers found an overall annual mammography use among women without additional disease of 47.3%. The team also found the following comorbidities in the study sample of 36,575 women:

  • 45.9% reported a history of hypertension
  • 43.6% reported a history of hyperlipidemia
  • 3.9% reported prior heart attack
  • 5.7% reported prior stroke

A history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia was associated with increased use of mammography by 2.5 and 6.8 percentage points, respectively (p < 0.01). However, prior heart attack was associated with decreased annual use by 8.2 percentage points (p < 0.01), while prior stroke did not have a significant association with mammography use.

The researchers discovered that the age with maximum mammography screening use was 60 years.

"Mammography use was higher in patients with hypertension and hyperlipidemia and lower in patients with prior heart attack and stroke, which may reflect differences in comorbidity-related general healthcare use," Yuan's group concluded.


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