Recruiting older women for screening mammography.
We compared health behavior and attitudes of older and younger women toward breast cancer screening by using data from the 1987 Texas Breast Screening Project, a community-based, low-cost screening program sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Texas Division. Because age is an important risk factor for breast cancer, the women were categorized into three age groups: 55 to 64 years old, 65 to 74 years old, and 75 years and older. Approximately 67% of the women 75 years and older, 64% of women in the 65 to 74 age group, and 59% of the younger (55 to 64) women had never had mammography. Moreover, only 14% of the women in both the 65 to 74 and 75+ age groups and 19% of the younger women reported having two or more mammographic examinations. Fewer older women (65 to 74 and 75+ age groups) reported having recent clinical breast examination. There were no differences among the age groups in the factors that attracted the women to participate in this screening program; in the three age groups, the most influential factors to participate were media publicity and lower mammography costs. Women in all age groups reported a lack of physician referral and cost as reasons for not previously participating in mammography screening. This study shows that older women are underscreened. Educational programs about the benefits of early detection should target older women because they are at increased risk for breast cancer.
Halabi, S; Vogel, VG; Bondy, ML; Vernon, SW
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