Report: Access to mammography facilities only adequate

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A new study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates that mammography facilities are closing at a more rapid pace than they are opening. From 2001 to 2004 the number of such facilities across the nation dropped from 9,306 to 8,768.
   
Many of the facilities indicated that financial considerations, or problems in maintaining staff qualified to perform or interpret mammography, were motivations behind the closings, the GAO said.
   
Still, regardless of a drop in mammography capacity, screenings have actually been on the rise. In fact, according to 2003 data the GAO indicates that mammography facilities could have performed more tests than they did. The biggest concern, said many of the experts the organization interviewed, is really on the staffing side as some worry that not enough specialists will be available to meet demand.
   
Overall, some women who are considered underserved, including lower income patients or those lacking in health insurance, are challenged to find facilities with mammography system in their areas, GAO found.