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Data continue to show a fall in screening mammography rates

Data continue to show a fall in screening mammography rates

Data continue to accumulate showing that screening mammography rates are declining in the U.S. A survey recently conducted for Diagnostic Imaging by The MarkeTech Group found nearly half (47%) of hospital-based administrators surveyed said there is a decrease in the number of women receiving mammograms at their facility compared to 2009.

Out of 154 responses polled from its ImagePRO panel, 27% said there is a decrease between 10-20% in the number of women receiving mammograms compared to 2009. Twenty percent said the percentage drop is less than 10%.

One possible cause for the drop in mammography rates could reflect recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) declaring that screening should begin at 50, and only biennially thereafter.

While countless experts voiced their dissent when the recommendations came out in November, there is still the fear women will take the recommendations to heart. The new poll by MarkeTech shows some veracity to breast imagers’ fears.

Of the respondents, 35% there is a reduced number of women receiving mammograms and it is likely attributable to the USPSTF’s recommendations.

Also, in February, the Avon foundation reported that more than a dozen states had changed their breast and cervical cancer early detection programs to reflect the USPSTF’s recommendations, including California, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan.

In its national survey, Avon also found 24% of survey respondents reported a decrease in the number of women under the age of 50 being screened or seeking appointments for mammograms at their facilities.

All the data confirms comments by mammographers in 2009 that screening mammograpy rates are declining.

“Overall volumes are down probably due to the economy, loss of jobs, and insurance,” said Dr. Kathy Schilling, the medical director of imaging and intervention at Boca Raton Community Hospital’s Center for Breast Care in Florida.

A drop in volumes also results in patients presenting with larger, more advanced cancers, she said.


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