Background. In spite of the fact that the value of mammography has been demonstrated, it remains underused by those in need, such as older women and minority women. A consideration of lifespan and ethnicity issues may help in designing interventions designed to overcome the barriers women may face at different stages in their lives as well as the barriers that may be most salient for minority women.
Methods. There now are reports from a number of published trials indicating the value of different kinds of interventions. Interventions can be characterized as individual-directed, system-directed, social network, or multistrategy. Although little is known about what interventions may be specifically appropriate for women in their 40s, both individual-directed and multistrategy interventions have increased use of mammography significantly among women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, including African American women.
Conclusions. Although there is a considerable distance to go before all American women are getting regular mammograms, progress is being made. Attention to developing tailored interventions sensitive to lifespan and ethnicity concerns may be helpful.