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Knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of women ages 65 and older on mammography screening and Medicare: results of a national survey



Knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of women ages 65 and older on mammography screening and Medicare: results of a national survey



Women and Health 36(4): 1-18



Compared to younger women, women 65+ will experience the greatest increase in new breast cancer cases. In 1991, Medicare began offering partial reimbursement for screening mammography every 2 years. In 1999, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) conducted a telephone survey on breast cancer, mammography, and Medicare reimbursement with a sample of households containing women ages 65+ using random-digit-dialing. Results were weighted to provide nationally representative estimates of U.S. women 65+. NCI compared 1999 results with similar data from a 1992 AARP survey. Of the 814 women surveyed, 88% had had at least one mammogram in their lifetime; within this group, 80% had received their most recent mammogram 2 years ago or less. Only 57%, however, knew about recommendations to have a mammogram every 1-2 years. Approximately one-third indicated that they were not as concerned about getting breast cancer as when they were younger, and/or that women without risk factors could be less vigilant about mammograms. More than 75% were aware of Medicare coverage, but only 58% had used Medicare to help pay for their last mammogram. Minority women were almost twice as likely to be unaware of Medicare coverage. (1) Highlight that breast cancer risk increases with age (and does not decline in the absence of risk factors) and communicate the correct frequency for having mammograms; (2) expand primary care physicians' roles in promoting mammography screening for women 65+; and (3) provide Medicare coverage information to older women, particularly those not taking advantage of this benefit.

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Accession: 046508646

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12555798

DOI: 10.1300/j013v36n04_01


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