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Study Reveals Slight Increase in Mammogram Rates After Controversial USPSTF Recommendations

Update Date: Apr 19, 2013 08:58 AM EDT
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A new study has revealed that the mammogram rate for women between did not decline after the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine mammogram screening for women between the ages of 40 and 49 in 2009.

Researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) say that if the USPSTF recommendations had been widely adopted, there would have been a significant decline in mammography rates among women in their forties.

Lead author Lydia Pace, MD, MPH, a global women's health fellow in the Division of Women's Health at BWH, said that the latest finding "demonstrates that younger women are continuing to get mammograms," according to a news release.

After analyzing data from nearly 28,000 women who were asked about their mammography use during the 2005, 2008 and 2011 National Health Interview Survey, researchers found that among all women, mammography rates actually rose from 51.9 percent in 2008 to 53.6 percent in 2011. However, researchers said the increase is not statistically significant.

Mammography rates for women in the 40 to 49 age group also rose at a slight but statistically non-significant rate between 2008 and 2011 from 46.1 percent to 47.5 percent.

"Our research does not explain the reasons why mammography rates did not decline, but it is worth noting that several prominent professional and advocacy organizations continue to recommend mammography screening for women between the ages of 40 and 49," Pace said.

"Providers may disagree with the USPSTF recommendations or they may not have the time or the tools needed for discussions with patients about the relative benefits and harms of mammography. Patients may also disagree with the recommendations and may still be requesting annual mammograms or self-referring to mammography facilities," she explained.

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