, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1339-1353
Date: 17 May 2009

Impact of geography on mammography use in California

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Abstract

Objective

Despite its benefit, about 30% of women report that they did not have a recent mammogram. We examine impact of distance, rural–urban residence, and other characteristics on mammography screening rates.

Methods

We linked data on 33,938 women aged 40–84 years from the 2003 and 2005 California Health Interview Survey with FDA data on the location of mammography facilities in California, and with socioeconomic and geographic variables from the 2000 Census. We use logistic regression models to estimate the impact of selected variables on a woman’s probability of having had a recent mammogram and developed a new mapping scheme to help visualize differences in mammography use across California.

Results

Though distance to a facility did not impact a woman’s probability of having had a recent mammogram, women who resided in urban areas had somewhat higher screening rates than those living in more rural areas, as displayed on our map.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that more research is needed on possible disparities in access to mammography between rural and non-rural areas in California. Therefore, data adequately powered to examine rural populations and to compare them with urban populations are needed.

All works were performed at the National Cancer Institute and American University.