Mammograms: Only Half of Women Over 40 Getting Recommended Screening
Mammograms are recommended annually for women 40 and older by the American Cancer Society, but only half of U.S. women over 40 are getting the screenings, even though they have insurance, according to findings Thursday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The new study, whose data came from a review of insurance claims, also showed that nearly 40 percent of women 50 and older do not get the recommended biannual screenings.
"We all support many things fast food isn't what we should eat for dinner every night but that isn't what we do," said Dr. Milayna Subar of Medco Health Solutions Inc., who led the study by using records on more than 1.5 million women.
Ratings of mammograms are likely even lower among women without insurance, though government programs pay for such screenings for many women lacking coverage.
Mammograms are X-rays of the breast that can reveal tumors when theyre too small to be felt. Although some x-rays may raise false alarms, the screenings are also pivotal for early detection.
Still, in November 2009, the U.S. Preventive Servies Task Force said women in their 40s at average risk for cancer do not need mammograms and that women 50 and older need them only every two years, even though a recent study showed that annual screenings conducted for women 40 and over greatly reduces breast cancer risk.