Recent mammography use among African-American women

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Objective: The incidence of breast cancer in Black women is lower, but their mortality rate is higher, compared to White women. Lower rates of mammography use among Black women in the past may have resulted in later diagnosis of breast cancer, leading to shorter survival periods and higher mortality rates. We assessed recent mammography use in a large national study, the Black Women's Health Study. Design: In 1995, 27, 632 US Black women aged 40-69 years completed mailed questionnaires, which included questions on mammography use. Results: Seventy-three percent of women aged 40-49, and 82% of those aged 50-69, reported having had a mammogram within the previous three years. Use was greater among women with higher levels of education, and among those who had cystic breast disease or a mother or sister with breast cancer. Conclusions: The high rate of recent mammography use among participants in the Black Women's Health Study agrees with national data. If breast cancer mortality rates in Black women continue to exceed those in White women, despite the lower incidence among Black women, reasons other than differential mammography use must be sought. (Ethn Dis. 2001;11:188-191).

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