Mammography rates decline

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 28, 2007

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Since 2000, mammography rates have declined significantly in the United States, according to a new study in the June 15 issue of Cancer, which is published by the American Cancer Society.

The study, by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, found that screening mammography fell by as much as 4% between 2000 and 2005. This is the first study to show that the trend is nationwide among women for whom the test is intended to reduce mortality risk, the researchers said.

After years of increasing incidence, the rate of new breast cancer diagnoses recently declined, and debate has ensued as to how much of that decline is due to changes in mammography rates and how much to a decline in the use of hormones.

The researchers found that between 1987 and 2000, there was a steady increase in the use of mammography for women older than 40, but from 2000 to 2003 rates were relatively flat. In 2005, however, screening fell by 4%, compared with rates observed in 2000. This decline was significant for women older than 50 and was reported most frequently among women ages 50 to 64 who previously had reported high screening rates and from women in higher socioeconomic levels.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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