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Mammograms for Women With/Without a Disability

Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer among women yet women with a disability are less likely to have obtained a mammogram within the previous two years.

Chart: Self-reported prevalence of receiving a mammogram within the past two yearsAccording to a CDC study published in Journal of Women's Health, women with a disability might be less likely to obtain a mammogram within the previous two years, compared to women without a disability. Prevalence of self-reported mammography use is lower for women with a disability (72.2% for women 40 years of age or older and 78.1% for women 50 to 74 years of age) than women without a disability (77.8% and 82.6%, respectively).

Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Focus on health care disparities has centered on reducing racial and ethnic disparities, with relatively little attention to disability. Given the prevalence of disability among women in the United States (an estimated 29.3% of women 40 years of age or older and 31.3% of woman 50 to 74 years of age had a self-reported disability), efforts to reduce disparities in breast cancer screening might be more effective if they target all segments of the populations and explicitly include women with a disability.

A lower prevalence of mammography use was found among women with a disability compared to women without a disability for those who were white/non-Hispanic (72.0% vs. 78.4% for women 40 years of age or older; 77.7% vs. 83.3% for women 50-74 years); high school graduates or having some college (70.7% vs. 76.3% for women 40 years of age or older; 76.8% vs. 81.5% for women 50-74 years); and annual household income of less than $25,000 (64.6% vs. 66.3% for women 40 years of age or older; 70.6% vs. 72.0% for women 50-74 years).

What is CDC doing?

CDC's Division of Human Development and Disability at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities is working to prevent health problems in people with disabilities. By improving access to mainstream health programs and health care services (such as mammography screenings), people with disabilities can live full productive lives and reduce individual and health system costs.

Surveillance and research activities helps CDC understand the significance of health disparities for people with disabilities, and identify the causes of those disparities to inform effective program development. CDC invests in reliable and consistent methods and tools for analyzing this data, and produces fact sheets on heath disparities across a range of health conditions.

CDC works to include people with disabilities in mainstream health programs and health care services when possible, and identifies targeted programs when necessary. CDC's Right to Know campaign includes a series of materials and health messages that have been designed to increase awareness of breast cancer among women with physical disabilities and encourage these women to get screened.

Chart: Self-reported prevalence of receiving a mammogram within the past two years by disability and select socio-demographic characteristics

Data Source

Courtney-Long E, Armour B, Frammartino B, Miller J. Factors associated with self-reported mammography use for women with and women without a disability. J Womens Health 2011;20:1279-86.

2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

More Information

CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

  • Page last reviewed: November 14, 2011
  • Page last updated: November 14, 2011
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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