Women with lower incomes are more likely to miss a breast cancer test

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Women who are low-income, socially isolated and lack health insurance are far less likely to be up-to-date on mammograms, a breast cancer screening tool experts said is critical to reducing breast cancer deaths, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to afflict American women, and kills an estimated 40,000 Americans each year.
Cancer overall kills 605,000 Americans a year and is the second-leading cause of death, a toll the Biden administration aims to reduce through a Cancer Moonshot initiative.
As part of the survey, women older than 40 were asked if they had ever had a mammogram, and if so, when their last test was.
Doctors recommend women should get a mammogram every year from ages 45 to 54, and every two years thereafter.
Women who experienced more than three kinds of social need had worse mammogram rates, with dramatic state-to-state differences.
Notably, Black women reported getting more mammograms overall.
The result is surprising, because while Black women and white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at roughly the same rate, Black women are 40% more likely to die of the disease.


As per a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women who are socially isolated, have low incomes, and do not have health insurance are significantly less likely to have mammograms updated, a breast cancer screening tool that experts have stated is essential to lowering breast cancer deaths.

An estimated 40,000 Americans lose their lives to breast cancer each year, making it one of the most common cancers to affect women in the United States. The second-leading cause of death in the United States, cancer claims the lives of 605,000 people annually. The Biden administration hopes to lower this number with the Cancer Moonshot initiative.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program’s medical director, Dr. Jacqueline Miller, is one of the study’s lead authors. “The bottom line is women are more likely to get life-saving mammograms when their social needs are met,” Miller stated.

The 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a landline and cellphone survey of the civilian population over the age of 18, provided data for the study’s analysis. Women over 40 were questioned about their mammogram experiences and, if so, the date of their most recent test as part of the survey. Women should get a mammogram every year until they are 54 years old, and then every two years after that, according to medical advice.

Researchers discovered that women who faced other forms of social deprivation, such as not having health insurance, having their hours cut or being laid off, feeling alone in society, not having access to transportation, or having expensive medical care, had lower rates of mammograms.

There were significant state-to-state variations in the mammography rates among women who reported having more than three types of social need. While 78 percent of women in Rhode Island had recently had a mammogram, just 44 percent of women in Wyoming who faced more than three forms of social deprivation had done so.

Notably, more Black women than any other group reported having mammograms. The outcome is unexpected because, although Black and White women receive breast cancer diagnoses at about the same rates, Black women have a 40% higher chance of dying from the illness. Miller noted that because the survey is self-reported, there is a chance that some people will over- or underreport.

Even though there are many contributing factors to health disparities across demographic groups, systemic racism is thought to be the cause of differences in health outcomes between Black and White Americans on a wide range of health-related factors.

According to researchers, in order to lessen the number of women dying from breast cancer in the US, social services must be made available to them. These services include affordable mammograms provided by local health departments, dependable transportation, and medical care even in cases where women lack health insurance.

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