A recent survey of women ages 40 to 49 years indicates that more than two-thirds of them will continue an annual mammography regimen, and some will do so even if they have to pay for the tests themselves.
In an online poll conducted in November by Harris Interactive on behalf of LifeBridge Health, 67% of U.S. women ages 40 to 49 years said they will get an annual mammogram despite the new States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations. Of women in this age group, 44% will get mammograms only if their insurance plans or someone else pays for them, and 23% said they will get them even if they have to pay out-of-pocket for the test. Only 4% said they would not be getting mammograms in their 40s because of the USPSTF’s new recommendations, and 17% said they would not get mammograms regardless of the new recommendations. One out of every 10 women in this age group was unsure what she would do and 2% declined to answer the question. Experts are concerned that the new USPSTF mammography recommendations may give women an excuse not to get regular screening mammograms.
The poll also asked women ages 40 to 49 if they had a personal or family history of breast cancer or any other factors that might put them at high risk for developing breast cancer. Of the 31% who answered “yes” to this question, 77% said that they would continue to get mammograms in their 40s; 40% would do so even if mammography was not covered by their insurance while 37% would do it only if their insurance plans or someone else covered the cost. Although less than 1% of self-identified high-risk women in this age group said they would wait until age 50 for their next mammogram because of the new USPSTF recommendations, 16% of high-risk women in this age group said they “don’t plan on getting annual screening mammograms regardless of the guidelines.” Surprisingly, this percentage was identical to the percentage of non-high-risk women who said they wouldn’t be getting mammograms in their 40s despite the guidelines.