Mammogram rates for immigrants rising

PENN STATE (US) — Fewer immigrant women receive mammograms than native-born American women, but more immigrant women are getting them now compared to a decade ago.

“Lack of access to health care persistently contributes to mammography screening disparities among immigrants,” says Nengliang Aaron Yao, a graduate student working with Marianne Hillemeier, associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State.

“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,” says Yao, who reported his findings at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in Washington, D.C. The data came from the National Health Interview Survey.

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 narrowed.

In 2000, the gap was 11.2 percent, in 2008 the gap was 3.4 percent. In 2000 60.2 percent of immigrant women older than 40 received mammograms while in 2008, 65.5 percent received them.

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

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