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Access to Mammography Is Still a Problem

Access to Mammography Is Still a Problem

WASHINGTON--The number of women over age 40 who have ever had
a mammography has risen significantly in the past few decades,
P. Ellen Parsons, MPH, PhD, said at the spring meeting of the
National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee.

The figures still need improvement, however, and improving access
to mammography remains an important issue. According to the 1992
CDC Health Interview Survey, 69% of white women over 40 and 58%
of black women over 40 had ever had a mammogram, and of all women
aged 50 to 64, only half had had a mammogram in the past year,
she said.

Dr. Parsons is a survey statistician in the Division of Health
Interview Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As might be expected, women with private health insurance are
more likely to seek mammography than those on Medicare/Medicaid,
or with no health insurance, she said. Because they have better
access to routine screening programs, women who belong to an HMO
obtain mammograms more frequently than women in fee-for-service
plans.

Dr. Parsons described four major areas that influence access to
care:

Characteristics of the health-care delivery system, including
the number and type of hospitals and physicians in a given geographical
area and the time it takes people to reach a delivery site.

Characteristics of the population at risk, such as age, sex, race,
cultural background, education, and socioeconomic status.

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