Mobile Mammography to Eliminate Barriers to Breast Cancer Screenings
A wide range of healthcare interventions have been developed in order to eliminate barriers to breast cancer screenings. One such intervention is the use of mobile mammography. For the past 20 years, mobile mammography programs have been in practice, targeting women who lack in preventive health care due to financial, geographical or insurance limitations. However, despite the outreach of mobile health units across the nation, there is rather limited data relating to the populations serviced by these units and their ability to reach underserved populations, address discrepancies, and report breast cancer screening outcomes.
In order to bridge this gap, a few research studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of mobile mammography programs.
Mobile mammography units vs. cancer centers
One particular study, published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, compared mobile units to stationary sites by analyzing the characteristics of women who underwent mammography screening in a mobile unit and the characteristics of women who underwent mammography screening at a cancer center.
The researchers evaluated a total of 1433 mammography screening examinations performed in a mobile unit back in 2014 and they compared the data to the same number of examinations performed at their cancer center the very same year. Data recorded included conducted biopsies, adherence to follow-up, cancer detection rate, BI-RADS assessment, as well as sociodemographic factors. An independent sample T-test was also conducted in order to identify potential differences in the age between the mobile unit patients and the cancer center patients.
Moreover, analyses were conducted to identify associations between location and factors such as marital status, health insurance, geographic area, recall rate, adherence to screening guidelines, adherence to follow-up, and cancer detection rates.
The findings showed that the patients visiting the cancer center were significantly older than the patients visiting a mobile unit. They also showed:
- A substantial link between location and patient marital status with more married patients undergoing screening at the cancer center and more single patients undergoing screening in a mobile unit
- A substantial link between location and health insurance status with a majority of uninsured patients undergoing screening in a mobile unit (3.70% cancer center vs. 38.73% mobile unit)
- A substantial link between location and geographic area with both locations reaching more urban patients, as opposed to rural patients
- A substantial link between location and patient race with more Caucasian patients undergoing screening at the cancer center and more African-American patients, as well as Hispanic patients undergoing screening in a mobile unit
- A substantial link between location and recall rate with the cancer center having a lower recall rate than a mobile unit
- A substantial link between location and adherence to screening guidelines with more compliant patients undergoing screening at the cancer center
- Of those patients with BI-RADS 0, a substantial link was found between location and adherence to follow-up with patients undergoing screening at a mobile unit less likely to return for additional imaging
There were significant differences between those who visited the cancer center and the mobile unit. Read on to learn more about why that is, and to learn more about mobile mammographies.