Racial disparities in mammography utilization in women under 40
Dolan, Rachel Marie.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Although black women have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared to white women, their overall mortality is higher. Black women are more likely to get cancer at a younger age and at a more advanced stage. Mammography is the best form of secondary prevention for breast cancer; however, previous research indicates that black women over 40 are less likely to receive a mammogram than white women. Mammography utilization in women under 40 has had little evaluation. Employing a logistic regression analysis to the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component, this study attempts to determine if racial disparities do exist in mammography utilization, as this could indicate a need for a change in policy with regards to screening for breast cancer. This analysis finds that race is associated with mammography utilization. The results indicate that controlling for income, education, age and insurance status, black women age 30 to 39 are on average more likely to have ever had a mammogram than white women in this age group. Demographic and personal characteristics also differ in importance across different racial and ethnic groups. Future research should focus on women with increased risk factors such as a family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition to determine if screening differs by race among women of different risks. When considering future policies, it is important to enable women to know their personal risk, as well as ensure that high-risk women of any age continue to be able to access preventive screening.
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