Mammography guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Service task Force may have had no impact in changing screening rates in average-risk women in their 40s, a study found.
To evaluate the effects of the 2009 recommendations, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data collected in the 2006, 2008, and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, comparing nearly 485,000 women ages 40-49 and women ages 50-74 before and after the recommendation.
Results appeared in the May issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Rates of mammogram use in the past year among women ages 40-49 and 50-74 were 51.8% and 64.3% in 2006, 53.2% and 65.2% in 2008, and 51.7 % and 62.4% in 2010, which was not a statistically significant change.
Researchers noted that rates of Pap smears fell during the same time period, leading them to conclude that patients and providers may have been hesitant to comply with the 2009 mammography recommendation.
"While cancer screening saves lives, practice should be informed by an understanding of the recommendations," researchers wrote. "Overuse of cancer screening tests, including mammography and Pap smear, in populations where evidence is lacking may contribute to the increasing cost of medical care and convey additional risks to individuals."