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Most Women do not get recommended Mammograms
Newswise, December 10, 2010 — Only half of
eligible women in the United States are
getting their annual mammograms, even if
they have insurance to pay for the
procedure, according to data presented at
the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast
Last year the U.S. Preventive Services Task
Force, an independent panel of non-federal
experts in prevention and evidence-based
medicine, recommended that the age of first
mammogram be lifted from 40 to 50 years of
age, at which biennial mammography begins,
and caused a public outcry.
To date, no major insurance company or other
organization has acted on that
“Women reacted strongly to that
recommendation with protests about their
right to have an annual mammogram that
should not be taken away,” said Milayna
Subar, M.D., vice president and national
practice leader for oncology at Medco Health
Solutions, Inc. in N.J.
“Interestingly though, we found that a large
percentage of women do not get regular
Subar and colleagues reviewed medical claims
between January 2006 and December 2009 from
a database of more than 12 million people.
All participating women had either
employer-provided insurance or Medicare.
Among those who were 40 to 85 years of age,
only 50 percent had a mammogram in any given
year and only 60 percent had two or more
mammograms over four years.
Average annual mammography rates were 47
percent for women aged 40 to 49 years, 54
percent for women aged 50 to 64 years and 45
percent for women aged 65 years and older.
The researchers did not examine reasons as
to why the women were not getting
mammograms, but several theories exist,
according to Subar. Among these theories:
discomfort from the test, lack of available
screening centers, general non-compliance or