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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1993 Jan 20;85(2):112-20.

Increasing mammography utilization: a controlled study.

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  • 1Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.



Despite the effectiveness of breast cancer screening for women older than 50 years of age, only about one third of these women in the United States receive annual mammography.


This study was designed to determine if a community-wide intervention could increase use of mammography screening for breast cancer. Secondary end points were determination of changes in women's knowledge and attitudes toward mammography and physicians' self-reported screening practices.


We conducted a controlled study from January 1987 through January 1990 in two eastern North Carolina communities--New Hanover County (the experimental community) and Pitt County (the control community). Before development and implementation of the intervention program in New Hanover County and after the program had been in operation for 1 year, 500 women of ages 50-74 years and all primary-care physicians in each community were interviewed by telephone. In these interviews, we determined the use of mammography for breast cancer screening and the knowledge and attitudes about it. We also established the number of screening mammograms performed in 1987 and 1989 in each county and reviewed medical records to determine the percentage of women the physicians had referred for mammograms.


The percentage of women who reported receiving a mammogram in the previous year increased from 35% to 55% in the experimental community and from 30% to 40% in the control community (difference of differences, 10%; P = .03 after adjustment for race, education, age, and having a regular doctor; 95% confidence interval, 1%-18%). Increases were greater in New Hanover County regardless of age, race, income, and education. However, the increase was less for Black women than for White women, both overall and in most demographic subgroups. The total number of mammograms performed increased 89% in the experimental community and 45% in the control community. Women's knowledge about mammography changed little, but the intention to get a mammogram increased 30% in New Hanover County, compared with a 17% increase in Pitt County--a statistically significant difference (P < .01). Physician reports and medical record reviews in the two communities showed similar increases in the number of mammograms ordered.


A community-wide effort to increase use of breast cancer screening was successful, but more work must be done to reach the National Cancer Institute's goal of annual mammograms for 80% of women of ages 50-74.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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