Follow-up after abnormal results on mammography is more likely to be delayed among Asian American women compared with white women, according to study results published in CANCER. The findings suggest Asian women may experience barriers to effective cancer prevention that need to be addressed.

A team led by Kim Hanh Nguyen, MPH, ScD, and Leah S. Karliner, MD, MAS, of the University of California San Francisco, examined information from the San Francisco Mammography Registry. Radiology facilities participating in the registry prospectively collect demographic and clinical data from women at the time of breast imaging and at each subsequent imaging visit.


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The findings showed that Asian ethnicity was associated with delays in follow-up imaging after abnormal results on screening mammography. Among Asian women, Vietnamese and Filipina women had the longest span (32 days and 28 days, respectively) before follow-up. Japanese women had the shortest span (19 days).

At 30 days, the proportion of women receiving follow-up care was lower for Asians (57%) than whites (77%). This disparity continued at 60 and 90 days for all Asian ethnic groups except Japanese. Asians also had a higher proportion (15%) of no follow-up after a year compared with white women (10%). Filipinas had the highest percentage of women who did not follow up at all after 1 year (18.1%).

These delays in diagnostic radiology could put Asian American women at higher risk of later-stage breast cancer at diagnosis, especially women of Vietnamese or Philippine ethnicity. In addition, there may be racial and cultural barriers to medical testing among Asian American women that need to be addressed, according to the researchers. 


1. Nguyen LH, Pasick R, Stewart S, Kerlikowske K, Karliner L. Disparities in abnormal mammogram follow-up time for Asian women compared with non-Hispanic white women and between Asian ethnic groups [published online June 12, 2017].

CANCER. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30756