Women more likely to use other preventive health services after mammography

June 5, 2018, Radiological Society of North America

Medicare beneficiaries who undergo breast cancer screening with mammography are more likely than unscreened women to undergo other preventive health services like screening for cervical cancer and osteoporosis, according to a major new study appearing online in the journal Radiology. Researchers found that even false-positive mammography findings did not reduce the likelihood of women utilizing these other preventive services.

Mammography is among the most commonly offered preventive services for women ages 40 years and older, making it a potentially significant influencer of adherence to other preventive services guidelines. However, little is known about the association between screening and use of a variety of preventive services in the Medicare population, along with the impact of false-positive mammographic findings on preventive services use.

For the new study, researchers from NYU School of Medicine in New York, Emory University in Atlanta, and the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute in Reston, Va., set out to learn more about these associations.

"There were two overarching ideas to this study," said Stella Kang, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of radiology and population health at NYU School of Medicine. "First, we wanted to examine the potential for a patient's experience with one screening to influence appointments with other preventive services. Second, we wanted to see how the potential harms from false-positive findings might influence preventive use."

Dr. Kang and colleagues compared preventive services utilization among 185,625 women who underwent mammography from 2010 to 2014 with that of a control group who did not have screening mammography. They zeroed in on the relationship between screening status and the probabilities of undergoing Pap smear, bone mass measurement, or influenza vaccination in the two years after mammography. The researchers also looked for a possible association between false-positive mammography results and subsequent use of the same non-mammographic preventive services. In theory, false positives, which require additional examinations and create added stress for the patient, might create negative associations with preventives services.

The results showed that women who underwent , with either positive or negative results, were significantly more likely than unscreened women to later utilize Pap smear, bone mass measurement and influenza vaccine services. In women who had not undergone these preventive measures in the two years prior to screening mammography, utilization of all three services after false-positive mammography screening was no different than after a true-negative screening.

"It's encouraging that women for whom services are received through Medicare are not showing significant signs of any negative influence from mammography," Dr. Kang said. "If anything, the experience of breast cancer screening is potentially encouraging, as it appears to increase awareness of other preventive services."

There are a number of possible reasons for the increased odds of preventive services utilization, the researchers said. Adherence to guidelines suggests a patient may be more proactive about her health in general, and referring physicians may consider a patient's willingness to undergo mammography as indicative of an understanding or acceptance of the favorable benefit-risk profile of recommended preventive services.

"Our theory is that when patients are counseled about mammography screening, this represents an opportunity for the physician to bring up other preventive services and the health benefits of these services for in their age group," Dr. Kang said. "So a patient's interest in services specifically could raise awareness in preventive services overall."

In the future, the researchers plan to look at mammography's effects on the utilization of other recommended , such as colorectal cancer .

Explore further: Making individualized choices about breast cancer screening

More information: "Use of Breast Cancer Screening and Its Association with Later Use of Preventive Services among Medicare Beneficiaries," Radiology, 2018.

Related Stories

Making individualized choices about breast cancer screening

May 1, 2018
In a JAMA Insights article, published on May 1 by JAMA, co-authors Keating and Pace summarize the current state of breast cancer screening. The authors note, that despite the fact that the United States Preventive Services ...

Mammogram rates increase after ACA eliminates co-payments

January 17, 2018
After the Affordable Care Act (ACA) eliminated cost sharing for screening mammograms, their rate of use rose six percentage points among older woman for whom such screenings were recommended, a new study in the New England ...

Women prefer getting mammograms every year

November 21, 2017
Women prefer to get their mammograms every year, instead of every two years, according to a new study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Mammo outcomes improve when docs compare prior screenings

November 3, 2016
The recall rate of screening mammography is reduced when radiologists compare with more than one prior mammogram, a study published in the October 2016 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology said.

False-positive mammography results are common

January 12, 2016
(HealthDay)—For women undergoing digital mammography screening, false-positive results are common, especially among younger women and those with risk factors, according to research published online Jan. 12 in the Annals ...

Study examines outcomes of screening mammography for age, breast density, hormone therapy

March 18, 2013
A study that compared the benefits and harms of the frequency of screening mammography to age, breast density and postmenopausal use of hormone therapy (HT) suggests that woman ages 50 to 74 years who undergo biennial screenings ...

Recommended for you

Targeting the engine room of the cancer cell

June 18, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) have developed a highly innovative computational framework that can support personalized cancer treatment by matching individual tumors with the drugs or drug ...

Researchers create novel combination as potential therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma

June 18, 2018
Researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Virginia, have identified a promising target to reverse the development of high-risk neuroblastoma and potentially inform the creation of novel combination therapies for ...

Study suggests well-known growth suppressor actually fuels lethal brain cancers

June 18, 2018
Scientists report finding a potentially promising treatment target for aggressive and deadly high-grade brain cancers like glioblastoma. But they also say the current lack of a drug that hits the molecular target keeps it ...

Standard myelofibrosis drug can awaken 'dormant' lymphoma

June 18, 2018
Most patients with myelofibrosis, a rare chronic disorder of the haematopoietic cells of the bone marrow, benefit from drugs from the JAK2 inhibitor class: symptoms are relieved, survival extended and general quality-of-life ...

Genomics offers new treatment options for infants with range of soft tissue tumors

June 18, 2018
The genetic causes of a group of related infant cancers have been discovered by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Wuerzburg and their collaborators. Whole genome sequencing of tumours revealed ...

Breast cancer researcher warns against online genetic tests

June 18, 2018
We have never been so fascinated by the secrets inside our cells.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.