Minority women have different take on mammography

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CHICAGO, Nov. 26—Black and Hispanic women have a different understanding of screening mammography compared with that of Caucasian women, according to the findings of a Boston University Medical Center survey presented today at the 93rd annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“Limited understanding of mammography still exists across different ethnic and socioeconomic groups,” according Nazia F. Jafri, MD, medical intern at Mount Auburn Hospital in Boston. “Increased community outreach and education targeted at minority and underserved women may lead to better breast cancer prognoses in these groups.”

Breast cancer rates tend to be lower among minority women than Caucasian women, but mortality rates are higher.

Priscilla J. Slanetz, MD, the study’s principal investigator, associate professor of radiology at Boston University Medical Center, and colleagues surveyed 1,011 women of various educational, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds who underwent screening mammography at Boston University Medical Center. The survey questioned women about their mammography knowledge and their preferences regarding contact after an uncertain discovery on a mammogram.

The results showed that differences in ethnic background seem to influence women's preferences regarding recall and earlier detection of cancer. Caucasian women strongly preferred recall given the possibility of earlier detection of cancer, compared with black (African-American, Caribbean and Haitian) and Hispanic women, the researchers said.

Nearly one-third of black and Hispanic women thought mammography detects more cancers than it does.

Only 56 percent of black women and 48 percent of Hispanic women said they would continue routine screening mammography after a false-positive result, compared to 76 percent of Caucasian women.

“Women's healthcare decisions and adherence to routine health screenings are affected by cultural factors, educational background and access to medical care,” Slanetz said. “Our study shows that we need to improve breast health education among minority and underserved women.”
Jafri said further research is necessary to address the underlying factors that influence a woman's decision to comply with screening mammography and follow-up care.

J. Jordan, MBA, R. Ayyala, BS, and A. Ozonoff, PhD, are co-authors of the study.