Model Suggests Earlier Breast Cancer Screenings for U.S. Black Women

Initiating screening 10 years earlier in Black women could reduce Black-White disparities in breast cancer mortality by 57 percent



MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For Black women in the United States, initiating biennial screening at age 40 years could reduce Black-White disparities in breast cancer mortality, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Christina Hunter Chapman, M.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues compared tradeoffs of screening strategies for Black versus White women under current guidelines. Screening strategies until age 74 years with varying ages of initiation and intervals were examined in a 1980 U.S. birth cohort of Black and White women.

The researchers found that for Black women, biennial screening from ages 45 to 74 years was most efficient, whereas biennial screening from ages 40 to 74 years was most equitable, with benefit-harm ratios closest to benchmark values for screening White women biennially from ages 50 to 74 years. In Black versus White women, initiating screening 10 years earlier reduced Black-White mortality disparities by 57 percent; life-years gained per mammogram were similar for both populations. The less effective treatment was for Black women, the more intensively they could be screened before benefit-harm ratios fell short of those experienced by White women.

“Our results suggest that Black women consider initiating biennial screening at age 40 years instead of age 50 years,” the authors write. “Given that this screening strategy falls within the ‘individual decision making’ category for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, this represents a practical, evidence-based opportunity to advance equity.”

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