More black than white women receive mammograms in St. Louis
Research Activities, April 2009
Mammography is an effective way to catch breast cancer early, when it is easiest to cure. Yet some women over 40 still do not get annual screening mammograms. Researchers are now exploring whether offering interventions (such as flexible clinic hours, traveling mammography vans, or health education campaigns) in specific geographic areas can increase annual mammography rates. From March 2004 to June 2006, Mario Schootman, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted telephone interviews with 429 black and 556 white women over the age of 40 who lived either within the city limits of St. Louis or within an area known to have high rates of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses.
More black women (75 percent) than white women (68 percent) received mammograms. In an area known to have high rates of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses, 69.5 percent of white women obtained mammograms compared with 73.7 percent of black women. These results were unexpected and suggest that mammography screening rates have improved for black women who live in St. Louis, the authors state. Further, they point to a need to improve mammography screening for white women, especially those living in late-stage diagnosis areas. The authors also suggest that this geographic clustering of late-stage breast cancer is a technique that can help target interventions to increase mammography use.
This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS14095).
See "Racial and geographic differences in mammography screening in St. Louis City: A multilevel study," by Min Lian, M.D., Ph.D., Donna B. Jeffe, Ph.D., and Dr. Schootman in the July 2008 Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 85(5), pp. 677-692.