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Am J Prev Med. 1992 May-Jun;8(3):182-5.

Repeat mammography among women over 50 years of age.

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  • 1Department of Family Practice, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield.


Mammography decreases mortality among women 50 years of age and older. Although recent surveys show that mammography use has increased since 1983, it continues to be underused by women at risk for breast cancer. The frequency of repeat screening at recommended intervals remains an important unanswered question. This record audit study included all visits from 1986 to 1988 for active female patients, 51-64 years of age, in a family medicine practice. The practice has a disproportionately black patient population, many of whom are on public assistance, characteristics associated with lower compliance with cancer screening guidelines. I reviewed medical records for a physician's recommendation for mammography and also for a radiology report documenting receipt of the mammogram. I also abstracted from the medical record the reason for mammography, a history of breast cancer risk factors, and sociodemographic information. In addition, I noted documentation of a clinical breast examination (CBE) and CBE results. Records for 150 patients were included in the analysis. The results indicate that repeat screening mammography is not common: 3% had three mammograms during the study period; 19% had two; 33% had one; and 44% had none. Physician recommendation for first-time mammography and clinical examination occurred with low frequency. As others report, mammography use is strongly associated with physician recommendation for a mammogram.

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