More California Women Are Having Mammograms

More California women are having mammograms, and they are having them more often. This trend started 15 years ago. In 1987, only 38 percent of California women had had a mammogram during the previous two years. By 2000, the number had risen to 79 percent.

The figures in the charts in this section include only women who had a mammogram to help screen for breast cancer. The charts do not include women who had one because they felt a lump, had the disease, or had some other breast problem.

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Mammograms and California's Ethnic Groups

Whether or not a woman has mammograms regularly varies by ethnic group. However, more women from all California ethnic groups have mammograms more frequently now than in 1987. In the year 2000, the group with the highest percentage of women who had a mammogram in the previous two years was African American women, followed closely by white women.

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Mammograms and Education

In the past, California women with more education were more likely to have regular mammograms. Now the gap is narrowing.

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Why Mammogram Use is Up

More California women are having mammograms because they are encouraged to do so—by widespread public education programs, by their physicians, and by the breast cancer awareness movement. In addition, California state government programs provide funding for low-income women to have regular mammograms and conduct outreach to let women know this funding is available.

How This Research Was Done

Researchers used information from telephone surveys conducted by the California Department of Health Services in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The surveys collect information from a random sample of California households. The sample does not completely match the age, race and gender composition of California, so the researchers adjusted the percentages to more accurately reflect the state's population. Information in this section comes from Chapter 7 of Breast Cancer in California, 2003, “Utilization of Screening Mammography in California, 1987–2000,” by Holly Hoegh, Ph.D., and Bonnie D. Davis, Ph.D.