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Mammograms on the rise for foreign-born women living in the US

Fewer immigrant women receive mammograms than native-born American women, according to Penn State researchers, who note that more immigrant women are getting mammograms now than a decade ago.

"Lack of access to health care persistently contributes to mammography screening disparities among immigrants," said Nengliang Aaron Yao, graduate student in health policy and administration.

Yao, working with Marianne Hillemeier, associate professor of health policy and administration, reviewed data on women over 40 who received mammograms in the United States from the years 2000 and 2008. He reported these statistics to attendees at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved today (Sept. 19) in Washington, D.C. The data came from the National Health Interview Survey.

"More recent immigrants, those with poor access to health care, and those who were younger and less educated had lower mammography rates at both time points," said Yao.

Yao found the number of immigrant women who received mammograms rose by almost 10 percent from 2000 to 2008. While the percentage of immigrant women receiving mammograms is less than U.S.-born women, the gap has shrunk. In 2000, the gap between immigrants and U.S.-born women was 11.2 percent, while in 2008 the gap was only 3.4 percent. In 2000 60.2 percent of immigrant women over 40 received mammograms while in 2008, 65.5 percent received them.

"Mammography rates among immigrant women remain lower than the native-born," Yao said. "Increasing access to health insurance and a usual source of care will further diminish disparities in mammography receipt."

Victoria M. Indivero | EurekAlert!
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