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Mammograms Might Encourage Other Screenings
  • Mary Elizabeth Dallas
  • Posted June 5, 2018

Mammograms Might Encourage Other Screenings

Older women who get mammograms are more likely to also seek screenings for cervical cancer and osteoporosis, new research reveals.

This held true for the Medicare recipients even when their mammograms produced false positive results.

"It's encouraging that women for whom services are received through Medicare are not showing significant signs of any negative influence from mammography," said study researcher Dr. Stella Kang.

"If anything, the experience of breast cancer screening is potentially encouraging, as it appears to increase awareness of other preventive services," Kang added.

She's an assistant professor of radiology and population health at NYU School of Medicine in New York City.

For the study, the researchers compared the use of preventive testing among more than 185,000 women who had mammograms between 2010 and 2014 and a control group of women who weren't screened for breast cancer. They investigated the likelihood that women would also get a Pap smear, bone density test or a flu shot within two years of having a mammogram.

"There were two overarching ideas to this study," Kang said. "First, we wanted to examine the potential for a patient's experience with one screening to influence appointments with other preventive services. Second, we wanted to see how the potential harms from false positive findings might influence preventive service use."

The study found that women who had a mammogram were much more likely to take these preventive health measures than those who hadn't had a mammogram.

"Our theory is that when patients are counseled about mammography screening, this represents an opportunity for the physician to bring up other preventive services and the health benefits of these services for women in their age group," Kang said in a journal news release. "So, a patient's interest in breast cancer services specifically could raise awareness in preventive services overall."

The study was published online June 5 in the journal Radiology.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on mammograms.

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, June 5, 2018
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