Access to mammography screening in a large urban population: a multi-level analysis.

Stephen C. Meersman, Nancy Breen, Linda W. Pickle, Helen I. Meissner, Paul Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To understand area-based sociodemographics, physician and medical practice characteristics, and community indicators associated with mammography use in Los Angeles County. An earlier multi-level analysis by Gumpertz et al. found that distance to the nearest mammography facility helped explain the higher proportion of Latinas diagnosed with late stage breast cancer compared with non-Latina Whites in Los Angeles County. Our study examined whether Latinas also have lower rates of mammography use. METHODS: We used a multi-level spatial modeling approach to examine individual and community level associations with mammography use among a diverse group of women aged 40-84 years in Los Angeles County. To build our multi-level spatial data set, we integrated five data sources: (1) 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, (2) 2001 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified mammography facility data, (3) 2003 LA Transit Authority data, (4) 2000 US Decennial Census data, and (5) 2001 Community Tracking Study (CTS) Physician's Survey data. RESULTS: Our study confirmed for Los Angeles County many associations for mammography use found in other locations. An unexpected finding was that women with limited English proficiency (predominantly Latina) were significantly more likely to have had a recent mammogram than English-proficient women. We also found that, after controlling for other factors, mammography use was higher in neighborhoods with a greater density of mammography facilities. CONCLUSION: Women with limited English proficiency were especially likely to report recent mammography in Los Angeles. This unexpected finding suggests that the intensive Spanish-language outreach program conducted by the Every Woman Counts (EWC) Program in low-income Latina communities in Los Angeles has been effective. Our study highlights the success of this targeted community-based outreach conducted between 1999 and 2001. These are the same populations that Gumpertz et al. identified as needing intervention. It would be useful to conduct another study of late-stage diagnosis in Los Angeles County to ascertain whether increased rates of mammography have also led to less late-stage diagnosis among Latinas in the neighborhoods where they are concentrated in Los Angeles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1482
Number of pages14
JournalCancer causes & control : CCC
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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