It’s well-known that cancer screening rates have dropped due to the pandemic, with restrictions meant to protect people from COVID-19 having the unfortunate side effect of many missing out on their regular screening appointments. However, research recently published in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, shows that declining annual screening rates, at least for breast cancer survivors, has been a problem for far longer.
Researchers determined annual mammography rates in women aged 40 to 64 years old with a personal history of breast cancer diagnosis by examining a nationwide commercial claims database, revealing that the mammography screening rate for these breast cancer survivors has been dropping since 2009. From the 141,672 women from this database who met the study criteria, the researchers found:
- Breast cancer survivors aged 50 to 64: About 74% going for annual mammograms from 2004-2009, but that dropped to 67% by 2016.
- Breast cancer survivors aged 40 to 49: 70% going for annual mammograms from 2004-2009, but that dropped to 57% by 2016
Overall, the study results revealed a drop of around 1.5 percent each year in annual mammography screening rates from 2009 to 2016, but the drop for breast cancer survivors aged 40 to 49 was much higher, falling at an average rate of 2.8 percent per year over that time period.