CDC: Mammo among women over 40 has decreased over last decade

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The percentage of women 40 and over who had a mammogram in the last two years has slightly decreased in the last decade, from about 70 percent in 1999 to 68 percent in 2008, according to an annual report on U.S. health issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is in sharp contrast to the increasing number of women over 40 who reported having mammograms over the previous two years from the period between 1987 and 1999, when the percentage jumped from 29 percent to 70 percent, according to the CDC.

The CDC reported that mammography screening rates have improved among women in all racial and ethnic groups during that time, but that disparities persist. Between 1987 and 1991, compared with other racial and ethnic groups, non-Hispanic white women had the highest recent mammography rates. Starting in 1993, according to the CDC, mammography rates among non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic white women have been similar and in 2008 the percentage of non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women with recent mammograms was higher than for Hispanic women.

Screening disparities are also seen among low-income and uninsured women, the CDC reported: These groups have consistently lower screening rates compared to higher-income and insured women. According to the CDC, recent increases in screening among insured, low-income women, and lesser disparities in screening rates for some racial and ethnic populations can be credited to programs promoting screening in underserved populations.

The CDC also found that questions of access, provider prescription, English proficiency and health literacy, as well as attitudes, knowledge and cultural believes could also affect mammography access and use.