Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Despite the awareness programmes and the massive screening strategies, it has not possible to eliminate the fear associated with the disease. Mammography is one of the routine tests used in the early identification of the disease.
However, a new study finds the number of women getting routine screening mammography may be less than previously reported. As many as one in three women have never had a mammogram or have not had one in more than two years. Furthermore, many women who have had one or two mammograms failed to return for regular screenings.
While screening mammography has been credited with significant improvements in breast cancer outcomes, the success of campaigns to increase screening use have not shown consistent improvements.
In New Hampshire studies assessing use demonstrate that overall use by women 50 years old and older range from 65-82 percent and depend on age. However, these studies rely on self-reporting surveys prone to poor patient recall or single community healthcare facility use.
The researchers found 36 percent of women 40 and over in New Hampshire had either never had a mammogram or had not had one in over 27 months. Older women over 80 years old were more likely than younger women to not receive screening.
Among those women who had received screening in their lifetime, only 65 percent received routine screening within the recommended one to two year interval. The remaining 35 percent had one or two screening mammograms and did not return with 27 months.
The figures only address the need for a critical evaluation regarding the issue as to why women fail to report. An initiative by the breast cancer registry to follow up patients on a long-term basis would be appropriate.