Fewer mammograms for 40-something women

July 6, 2012
Contemporary OB/GYN Staff
Contemporary OB/GYN Staff

Women in their 40s are getting fewer screening mammographies since the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine mammograms for this age group in 2009, according to a Mayo Clinic analysis.

  • Nearly 6% decrease in mammograms seen in women aged 40-49

  • Mayo Clinic analysis included ~8 million women aged 40 to 64 

 
Women in their 40s are getting fewer screening mammographies since the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine mammograms for this age group in 2009, according to a Mayo Clinic analysis.

Researchers presented the findings, which show a 6% nationwide drop in the exams, at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, June 24 to 26, in Orlando, FL. The meeting is a forum for health services research.

The Mayo researchers used a large, national representative database of 100 health plans to identify the number of screening mammograms performed between January 2006 and December 2010. Including nearly 8 million women between the ages of 40 and 64 years, they compared the rate of screening mammograms performed among women aged 40 to 49 years before the Task Force’s controversial 2009 guidelines with the rate performed after.

The investigators found a 5.72% decrease in screening mammographies performed in women who were in their fourth decade of life, representing nearly 54,000 fewer mammograms performed each year.

The 2009 USPTSF recommendations said that biennial screening mammography need not begin until age 50 and that the decision to pursue the exam by younger women was an individual one.

Despite the USPTSF guidelines, the Mayo Clinic, along with the American Cancer Society, continues to recommend yearly screening mammography for women aged 40 and older. They also recommend that women become familiar with their breasts so that they can inform their physicians about any changes and that women should receive clinical breast exams performed by a healthcare provider annually beginning at age 40.

Read other articles in this issue of Special Delivery