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Keywords:

  • breast cancer screening;
  • mammography use;
  • older women;
  • race/ethnicity

OBJECTIVES: To identify differences in the prevalence of ever having had a mammogram and having had a recent mammogram between older black and white women and to compare factors associated with mammography use in older black and white women.

DESIGN: Data analysis and comparative study using nationally representative multistage sampling survey.

SETTING: Data were obtained from the 1998 National Health Interview Survey.

PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred forty-nine black and 3,328 white older women were examined.

MEASUREMENTS: The outcome variables included never having had a mammogram (yes/no) and not having had a mammogram in the past 3 years (yes/no).

RESULTS: The results of chi-square tests showed that older blacks were less likely to have ever had a mammogram than older whites, but there was no difference in having had a recent mammogram between older blacks and whites. After adjusting for other related factors, race was not related to mammography use in older blacks and whites. Health insurance was related to mammography use in older whites but not in older blacks. Family income was associated with never having had a mammogram in older whites but not in older blacks. Older blacks with less than 12 years of education were less likely to have had a mammogram (recently or ever) than older whites with less than 12 years of education.

CONCLUSIONS: Even though race, per se, was not associated with mammography use in older black and white women, many barriers to mammography use between older black and white women were different or did not have similar effects. To promote mammography use in older black and white women, barriers need to be specifically targeted for each group to enhance the effectiveness of breast cancer screening programs.