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Spanish-only speakers less likely to be screened for breast cancer

Spanish-only speakers appear to have a 27-percent less likelihood of having a screening mammogram than English speakers, according to a new study of women ages 40 and above living in the United States. That translates to an estimated 450,000 women nationwide who are eligible for – but have never had – a screening mammogram.

The reasons behind why women with limited English proficiency do not get screening mammograms are myriad, said Celeste Cruz, M.D., the study’s senior investigator and breast surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. Low income levels and a lack of health insurance can play significant roles, as can fears around the exam itself.

In addition, many women – regardless of ethnicity or language proficiency – erroneously believe that having no family history of breast cancer means they are not at risk for developing the disease themselves, Cruz said. But, according to existing research, only 5 percent-to-10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary.

The study results were presented at a recent scientific conference. 

See “Screening Mammography Less Common Among Spanish-Only Speakers” by Whitney J. Palmer on the Diagnostic Imaging website (October 5, 2020)

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