Monday, January 11, 2010

Mammography availability linked to breast cancer mortality rate

More women die of breast cancer in areas where mammography centers are few and far between, according to research by a Medical College of Georgia radiology resident.

Breast cancer mortality rates ranged from 34.1 per 100,000 women in counties with no mammography facilities to 27.5 in those with at least one, said Dr. Kandace Klein, a fourth-year radiology resident.

Drs. Klein and James Rawson, Warren professor and chair of the Department of Diagnostic, Therapeutic and Interventional Radiology, presented their findings at the recent annual conference of the Radiology Society of North America. Dr. Klein also received the society’s Trainee Research Prize for the project.

Researchers used mapping and statistical software to determine the relationship between the number of sites in a specific geographical area and the number of breast cancer deaths. While this phase of the research did not account for variables such as race, education or socioeconomic status, a noticeable pattern emerged.

“The number of sites within a county is related to the population,” Dr. Klein said. “Increasing access to a facility correlates with a decrease in mortality.”

Researchers could not account for mobile mammography units and any transfer cases, such as when a patient went to another county to receive mammography services. The next phase of the project will analyze other factors that could affect breast cancer mortality rates, she said.

Dr. Klein, a graduate of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, will complete her residency this spring and begin an MCG fellowship in body imaging.

By Jennifer Hilliard

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