Disparities in MRI Screening Use for Patients With Breast Cancer

Uptake of screening magnetic resonance imaging of the breast into clinical practice has the potential to worsen population-based health disparities.
Uptake of screening magnetic resonance imaging of the breast into clinical practice has the potential to worsen population-based health disparities.

Uptake of screening magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast into clinical practice has the potential to worsen population-based health disparities, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer.1

Despite the potential benefits of breast MRI as an option for breast cancer screening besides a breast cancer risk assessment, there is concern that increased uptake will worsen population-based health disparities.

Therefore, researchers sought to determine if disparities in the use of screening MRI of the breast exist in community practice by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 316 172 women age 35 to 69 years from 5 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries. The investigators identified 617 723 negative screening mammograms and 1047 screening MRIs.

Results showed that among women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer was less than 20%, non-Hispanic white women were 62% more likely than nonwhite women to undergo an MRI.

Of those, patients with some college or technical school education were 43% more likely and patients with at least a college degree were 132% more likely to undergo an MRI than those with a high school education or less.

Researchers found that among women whose lifetime risk was 20% or higher, high-risk women who graduated college were more likely to undergo screening MRI than women with a high school education; however, there was no difference in use with respect to race or ethnicity.

“Policies beyond health insurance coverage should ensure that the use of this screening modality reflects evidence-based guidelines,” the authors conclude.

REFERENCE

1. Haas JS, Hill DA, Wellman RD, et al. Disparities in the use of screening magnetic resonance imaging of the breast in community practice by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status [published online ahead of print December 28, 2015]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29805.

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