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Black women less likely to be screened for breast cancer with latest technology

Black women were 20 percent less likely than White women to receive digital mammography after its implementation in 2005, and 16 percent less likely than white women to receive digital breast tomosynthesis after its implementation in 2015. Earlier detection of breast cancer has been facilitated by major technological advances, in particularly the evolution from screen-film mammography toward full-field digital mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis.

Researchers analyzed more than four million mammography Medicare insurance claims from 2005 to 2020 both within individual institutions and across comparable institutions, to determine differences in mammographic technology use according to patient race.

“The most striking finding is the fact that among women with the same insurance, who went to the same institution, Black women were less likely to receive the newer imaging technology,” said co-author Jinel Scott, MD (above).

“However, I don’t necessarily think it’s a situation where Black patients are sent to one machine and white patients to another,” adds Scott, who is associate professor of clinical radiology and chief quality officer at New York Health and Hospitals Kings County. Locations where the payer mix is mostly private are more likely to receive newer technology sooner than locations with a higher proportion of public payers.

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