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Study examines characteristics of mobile mammography patients

Significant differences were found among women receiving mammography at a cancer centre versus those visiting a mobile mammography van, according to an ahead-of-print article scheduled to be published in the December 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Mobile mammography units have increasingly been used to address patient health care disparities, the article stated, but to date there are limited data comparing mobile units to stationary sites.

The authors found that the cancer centres' population is older and more adherent to guidelines, while the mobile mammography population exhibited greater racial and marital diversity, higher recall rate, and lack of adherence to follow-up recommendations.

"By identifying these characteristics, we can develop programs and materials that meet these populations' needs and behaviours, ultimately increasing mammography screening and follow-up rates among under-served populations," said the researchers, led by Elizabeth Stanley of the Department of Radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Titled "Effectiveness of a Mobile Mammography Program," the article notes that the significantly lower adherence to recall recommendations in patients using the mammography unit may be because of difficulties in access to the breast imaging centre because patients must go to the cancer centre for follow-up.

Patients using the mobile unit were more likely to be uninsured and also showed a greater racial and marital diversity, thereby meeting the unit's mission of providing resources to adults living in target areas who have difficulty accessing health care, the authors stated.

The results could be used to develop specific educational programs and targeted interventions to increase mammography screening rates among under-served populations, the authors said.

For example, a text-messaging reminder system could be adopted to increase mammography adherence among the mobile unit patient population.

Source: American Roentgen Ray Society

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