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Am J Public Health. 2010 Oct;100(10):1917-23. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.158485. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Impact of cognitive impairment on screening mammography use in older US women.

Author information

  • 1Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA. kala.mehta@ucsf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We evaluated mammography rates for cognitively impaired women in the context of their life expectancies, given that guidelines do not recommend screening mammography in women with limited life expectancies because harms outweigh benefits.

METHODS:

We evaluated Medicare claims for women aged 70 years or older from the 2002 wave of the Health and Retirement Study to determine which women had screening mammography. We calculated population-based estimates of 2-year screening mammography prevalence and 4-year survival by cognitive status and age.

RESULTS:

Women with severe cognitive impairment had lower rates of mammography (18%) compared with women with normal cognition (45%). Nationally, an estimated 120,000 screening mammograms were performed among women with severe cognitive impairment despite this group's median survival of 3.3 years (95% confidence interval = 2.8, 3.7). Cognitively impaired women who had high net worth and were married had screening rates approaching 50%.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although severe cognitive impairment is associated with lower screening mammography rates, certain subgroups with cognitive impairment are often screened despite lack of probable benefit. Given the limited life expectancy of women with severe cognitive impairment, guidelines should explicitly recommend against screening these women.

PMID:
20075325
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2936976
Free PMC Article

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