Access to care among older women could lead to mammogram overuse

Providing better healthcare access may prompt mammogram overuse by women who regularly see a primary care physician and have a limited life expectancy, a new study published in the journal Medical Care found. Researchers assessed 106,737 women age 66 or older with an estimated life expectancy of less than seven years for screening mammography use from 2008 to 2009. They found that among that age group, 28.5 percent received screening mammography; however, women with more access to care go them than those without--34.6 percent of women with a primary care physician versus 20.5 percent without. Screening rates were higher among women who saw more than one generalist physician. Screening rates were also higher, at 39.5 percent, in the hospital referral regionals in the top decile of screening across the country, according to the study. Abstract