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Link Found Between Mammographies, Other Screenings in Medicare Enrollees


A new study has shown that older female beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, who undergo mammography screenings, have a greater likelihood of following up with other preventive tests. “It’s encouraging to see that women undergoing mammography may have increased awareness to other preventive screening measures,” said study author Stella Kang, MD, MSc, NYU School of Medicine.

According to new study results, women who undergo mammography screenings are more inclined to follow up with other preventive tests. US Medicare claims data gathered between 2010 and 2014 have found that women enrolled in Medicare were more likely to follow preventive guidelines and use those services following a mammography screening. The additional preventive screenings that were evaluated include bone mass measurement, Papanicolaou testing, and influenza vaccination.

For their study, published in Radiology, researchers at NYU School of Medicine utilized a sample of women aged 65 years and older. The 555,705 women were sorted into 2 groups: 185,675 (33.4%) patients who received mammogram screenings and 370,080 (66.6%) patients who did not. The screened group was further divided between false results and positive results, and then subdivided among false-positive and true-positive patients.

The data was collected via multivariate logistic regression models and inverse probability of treatment weighting to evaluate the relationship between screening status and other preventive tests. Standards from the American College of Radiology were used to categorize results, as these factors play a critical role in the patient experience and their willingness to participate in other preventive tests, according to statements made in a press release by the researchers.

The group of women who initially underwent mammography screenings, having either positive or negative results, had a greater chance of participating in a bone mass measurement (odds ratio [OR], 1.70; 95% CI, 1.63-1.78), Papanicolaou test (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.40-1.58), and influenza vaccine (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.37-1.53), compared to the control group. The study found that women with false-positive screenings exemplified no difference in their likelihood of undergoing further preventive testing. Also, false-positive findings at screening were found to be the same as true-positive findings at screening.

“Screening has the potential to identify early disease that can be curable,” so, “It’s encouraging to see that women undergoing mammography may have increased awareness to other preventive screening measures,” said Stella Kang, MD, MSc, assistant professor in departments of Radiology and Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, in a press release. The current sheds light on the idea of bundling preventive services for women.

The motivation behind this study derives from the researchers’ notice of a lack of data collected on the link between mammography screenings and other preventive tests. This association must continue to be studied to learn its impact on policy and clinical practices.


S Kang, M Jiang, R Duszak, et al. Use of breast cancer screening and its association with later use of preventative services among Medicare beneficiaries [published online June 5, 2018]. Radiology. doi: 0.1148/radiol.2018172326.

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