The geographic distribution of mammography resources in Mississippi

Elizabeth N. Nichols, Denae L. Bradley, Xu Zhang, Fazlay S. Faruque, Roy Joseph Duhe


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the availability of mammography resources affected breast cancer incidence rates, stage of disease at initial diagnosis, mortality rates and/or mortality-to-incidence ratios throughout Mississippi. 

METHODS: Mammography facilities were geocoded and the numbers of residents residing within a thirty minute drive of a mammography facility were calculated. Other data were extracted from the Mississippi Cancer Registry, the U.S. Census, and the Mississippi Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). 

RESULTS & DISCUSSION: There were no statistically-significant differences between breast cancer incidence rates in Black versus White females in Mississippi; however, there were significant differences in the use of mammography, percentages of advanced-stage initial diagnoses, mortality rates, and mortality-to-incidence ratios, where Black females fared worse in each category. Both the use and availability of mammography were negatively correlated with advanced stage of disease at initial diagnosis. No significant correlation was observed between breast cancer mortality and the availability of mammography facilities.  By combining Black and White subsets, a correlation between mammography use and improved survival was detected; this was not apparent in either subset alone.  There was also a correlation between breast cancer mortality-to-incidence ratios and the percentage of the population living below the poverty level.

CONCLUSIONS: The accessibility and use of mammography resources has a greater impact on breast cancer in Mississippi than does the geographic resource distribution per se. Therefore, intensified mammography campaigns to reduce the percentage of advanced-stage breast cancers initially diagnosed in Black women, especially in communities with high levels of poverty, are warranted in Mississippi.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *