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J Gerontol. 1992 Nov;47 Spec No:85-91.

Older women's participation in breast screening.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.


The incidence of breast cancer increases with age, but women's participation in breast screening decreases with age. National and regional surveys indicate a number of barriers. Women over age 65 are more likely to say they have never heard of mammograms, that they did not know they needed them, and that their doctors did not recommend them. In a study conducted at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia, participation in an HMO-sponsored breast screening program appeared to reverse the usual age-related decrease in mammography. If mammography utilization is to increase in women over age 65, physicians must offer unambiguous referrals to older women. In addition, health education interventions are needed to improve knowledge and beliefs of older women and their physicians. And, finally, strategies also are needed to enhance access. With the advent of Medicare coverage, payment will be less of a barrier. But other barriers remain.

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