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Study: Diabetics Have Lower Mammography Rates

April 14, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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Women with diabetes are less likely to go for mammography screening than women without the disease, according to a Canadian study published online Friday in Diabetic Medicine.

The study actually looked at two factors that tend to be strongly associated with each other: diabetes and low socioeconomic status. Evidence suggests that women who suffer from both also have lower mammography rates. The researchers wondered which factor might be more significant in keeping women away from screening.

It turned out to be diabetes, according to Lorraine Lipscombe, MDCM, senior author of the study:

Our study found having diabetes posed a significant barrier to breast cancer screening even after considering a woman’s socioeconomic status, a known contributor to disparities in care among women.

Dr. Lipscombe is an endocrinologist at Women’s College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), both in Toronto. She was quoted in an ICES news release.

The population-based retrospective cohort study looked at 188,759 women with diabetes, matched with a control group of 315,529 women without diabetes. The subjects lived in the Canadian province of Ontario and were ages 5o to 69. The study authors used neighborhood income and other demographic factors to estimate socioeconomic status.

After adjusting for socioeconomic status, the women with diabetes were 14 percent less likely to have received a mammogram within a three-year period.

“Managing the demands of a chronic condition such as diabetes is challenging for many women, leaving other preventative actions, like screening for cancer, to fall by the wayside,” Dr. Lipscombe said.

The researchers suggested establishing new programs to encourage cancer screening among diabetic women, including support and incentives for providers of diabetes care and education initiatives for socially disadvantaged populations.

“Programs that offer incentives and reminders for cancer screening or allow for self-referral may help ensure all women are getting their mammograms when they need them most,” Dr. Lipscombe said.

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