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Public Health Rep. 1996 May-Jun; 111(3): 244–250.
PMCID: PMC1381767

Mammography and pap smear use by older rural women.


OBJECTIVE. To compare the characteristics of older women who did and did not have screening mammograms and Pap smears during the first two years both services were a Medicare Part B benefit. METHODS. A prospective study was conducted in five rural Pennsylvania counties of 2205 female community-dwelling Medicare Part B beneficiaries who volunteered to participate in a Medicare prevention demonstration project. The baseline health risk appraisal included information on demographics, insurance status, disease history, symptomatology, and functional and cognitive status. These variables were tested for their association with the use of mammography and Pap smear using Medicare utilization claims data from 1991 to 1992. RESULTS. Of 2175 women still alive after three years, 44.6% had had a mammogram and 14.6% had had a Pap smear in either 1991 or 1992. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that women were more likely to have a mammogram if they were younger, were more educated, had supplemental insurance, did not need assistance with activities of daily living, and did not have diabetes or arthritis. Younger, college educated, and non-widowed women were more likely to have Pap smears than women in other categories. CONCLUSIONS. With cost less of a barrier, more aggressive efforts to persuade older women to have mammograms and Pap smears must be developed.

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