Decline and Disparities in Mammography Use Trends by Socioeconomic Status and Race/Ethnicity

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Rattanawatkul, Kanokphan
Carter-Pokras, Olivia
The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol. 3, 2011: 194-204.
The second leading cause of death in women in the United States is breast cancer. While it remains the most common type of cancer in women, early detection through mammography screening has been used to combat and treat breast cancer. But after the 2000, the rates of mammography have been declining. The purpose of this study is to examine whether or not the decline has continued and whether all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups experienced the same rate of decline. The study further explores the reasons why there are greater decline rates and breast cancer disparities among African American women, and women with lower income and education. Data from the National Health Interview Survey (2003 to 2005) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2002 to 2004) were used to calculate the percent decline for the total population and by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Mammography rates declined between 2003-2005 (NHIS) and 2002-2004 (BRFSS). Data from both the NHIS and BRFSS show a greater rate of decline for African American women, and women with lower income and education. An expert sampling method is used to recruit participants to explore their views on the reasons why breast cancer disparities existed among African American women, women with lower income, and women with lower education. These results differ from previous studies which examined broader time interval (2000 to 2005). Further research is recommended to explore whether the rates of decline have continued, the impact of the decline in mammography rates on breast cancer incidence, mortality, and stage of diagnosis, as well as the underlying reasons for the observed decline in mammography rates and for disparities in the rates of decline.