Mammography utilization stagnant in U.S.

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Mammography utilization in the United States has decreased slightly, or remained stagnant, among women age 40 or older, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers studied the trend in mammography use for each state in comparison with the corresponding breast cancer incidence trend. On the basis of results from a study performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, two thirds of the states saw a small decrease in utilization between 2000 and 2006.

Data showed that although mammography use in 17 states had increased slightly between 2002 and 2006, mammography use in 34 states and the District of Columbia had a slight decrease, ranging from -0.3 percent to -5.3 percent. The CDC also reviewed incidence rates and found that between 2000 and 2004 all but one state (Tennessee) had a decrease in breast cancer incidence rates. There was no clear pattern among the states though in regards to region, average age, average income or population density.

The majority of states had a decrease in mammography use from 2000 to 2006. Only one state had a statistically significant increase in reported mammography use, whereas two states had significant decreases. There was a correlation between breast cancer incidence rates and mammography use by states, but no correlation between the time trends in breast cancer incidence rates and mammography use was observed.

There was little statistically significant change in self-reported mammography use from 2000 to 2006, the authors noted.

"Continued monitoring of breast cancer screening practices and breast cancer incidence trends is important for targeting at-risk populations with effective interventions to improve breast cancer prevention and early detection," they stated.