American Women Have Unequal Access to 3D Mammograms

A new study, co-authored by CHPR faculty member Diana Miglioretti, found that while 53% of White women were screened for breast cancer using 3D mammography, only 37% of Black women were screened using this newer, more technologically advanced imaging method. Asian American and Hispanic women also experienced reduced access to 3D mammography as compared to White women. Advantages of 3D mammograms mentioned in the JAMA Network Open article describing the study include reduced “recall [to follow up on suspicious results] and increased cancer detection compared with [standard 2D] digital mammography (DM), depending on women’s age and breast density.”

Results of the study were based on more than 2.3 million breast-screening exams conducted at 92 different imaging facilities in 5 U.S. states from 2011 through 2017. Study results also indicated that women with less education and lower income received fewer 3D mammographs during 2011-2017 than did women with college degrees and who lived in zip codes with higher median household incomes.

Miglioretti, professor and division chief of biostatistics at the UC Davis School of Medicine, told HealthDay that she was, unfortunately, “not surprised to find these traditionally underserved populations were less likely to attend facilities that offered 3D mammorgraphy, and even when they did, they were less likely to receive a 3D mammogram.” She and her co-authors concluded that future research “efforts should address racial/ethnic, educational, and financial barriers” to using 3D mammography for breast cancer screening.

 More information on this study is available in the UC Davis Health Newsroom