A previous study compared the performance (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and cancer detection rate) of screening mammography in Black and White women. No study, to the authors' knowledge, has evaluated the difference in the performance of diagnostic mammography between Black and White women.
Univariate analysis was used to evaluate differences in characteristics and cancers between Black and White women. Stratified and adjusted logistic regression analyses were used to test the association of Black and White race with performance measures of diagnostic mammography.
The sensitivity of diagnostic mammography was higher (91% vs. 84%) and specificity was lower (86% vs. 90%) among Black women compared with White women. After controlling for age, density, self-reported breast problems, and previous mammography, sensitivity was significantly higher (odds ratio [OR] = 1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22–2.80) and specificity was significantly lower (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.70–0.81) among Black women. The crude cancer detection rate of mammography was higher for Black women (42.6/1000) than for White women (31.0/1000) and Black women had a higher proportion of cancers that were > 2.0 cm (57.4% vs. 46.2%) that were more often poorly differentiated (61.7% vs. 49.3%) and were more often estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor negative.
Black women have lower specificity of diagnostic mammography and, consequently, more unnecessary workups than White women. Black women have higher sensitivity of diagnostic mammography, with cancers that are larger and more advanced than White women. Delay in responding to signs and symptoms would explain the size and later stage. However, more research is needed to understand the biologic differences of breast cancer characteristics between Black and White women. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.