Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Are National Screening Targets Being Achieved for Breast Cancer?

By: Joshua Swore
Posted: Monday, March 29, 2021

As of 2018, breast cancer screening is below the national target for the Healthy People 2020 initiative, along with large disparities in screening among different populations, based on research published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to Lisa C. Richardson, MD, and colleagues at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Continued monitoring can help assess whether national screening targets are achieved and inform efforts that promote screening test receipt as recommended and reduce barriers for underserved populations to eliminate disparities.”

The authors used data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2005 to 2018 to assess participants’ up-to-date status for cancer screening. Included in this survey was information related to the participants’ sociodemographic status, health-care access, and previous cancer screenings and cancer history. Participants were considered up to date if they had received a mammography within 2 years for women between the ages of 50 and 74

The research group found that 72.4% of women in this age group were up to date for breast cancer screening, missing the goal of 81.1% for Healthy People 2020. The report revealed that those who were not current with such breast cancer screening tended to be less educated, have a lower income, have limited access to health care, and were uninsured. Just 32% of women without access to a stable health care source were considered up to date for breast cancer screening. A similar disparity was associated with women who lacked health insurance, as only 39.5% of these women were reported up to date.

The investigators noted that the overall number of women screened for breast cancer has increased since 2005, up from 4,097,142 to 5,558,224 in 2018. However, the percentage of women tested has hovered around the same number year to year.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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