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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2008 Jul-Aug;17(6):923-30. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2007.0402.

Racial/ethnic disparities in time to follow-up after an abnormal mammogram.

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Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.



Although non-Hispanic white women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, the disease-specific survival is lower for African American and Hispanic women. Little is known about disparities in follow-up after an abnormal mammogram. The goal of this study was to investigate potential disparities in follow-up after an abnormal mammogram.


A retrospective cohort study of 6722 women with an abnormal mammogram and documented follow-up from January 2000 through December 2002 was performed at an academic medical center in New York City. The outcome was the number of days between the abnormal mammogram and follow-up imaging or biopsy. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the effect of race/ethnicity and other potential covariates.


The median number of days to diagnostic follow-up after an abnormal mammogram was greater for African American (20 days) and Hispanic (21 days) women compared with non-Hispanic white (14 days) women (p < 0.001). Racial/ethnic disparities remained significant in a multivariable model controlling for age, Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) category, insurance status, provider practice location, and median household income.


After an abnormal mammogram, African American and Hispanic women had longer times to diagnostic follow-up compared with non-Hispanic white women. Future efforts will focus on identifying the barriers to follow-up so that effective interventions may be implemented.

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