Have you read the latest news regarding mammograms? According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the share of women 40 and older who said they had a mammogram in the previous two years went from 76.4 percent to 74.6 percent between 2000 and 2005. The AP reports (via the Washington Post):

The CDC and other researchers said possible explanations for the drop include a shortage of mammography screening centers and specialists, and a lack of health insurance among patients.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the cancer society’s deputy chief medical officer, said the decline may also reflect complacency among women.

"This is a group of women who have ‘grown up’ with mammography as they’ve aged, they’ve perhaps had it done many times over the years and they’ve decided, ‘Well, it’s been OK, maybe I can put it off for a while,’" he said.

He warned that the recently reported declines in breast cancer incidence rates and cancer deaths are at risk if the decline continues. "If we don’t pay attention now, we run the risk of seeing some of the gains we’ve made reversed," he said.

The study was based on a national telephone survey of more than 14,000 women in each of the survey years.

Breast cancer rates are down, which some researchers believe is related to the drop in women taking hormone therapy. Read Dr. Pat’s take on it here.

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