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Jeannette Manger


Mammography screenings have the potential to protect individuals from the burden of cancer and can even save lives. However, in Ohio, many women are not receiving regular screenings. Recent research indicates that social determinants of health, such as income and education, can impact an individual’s ability to access mammography. Yet, we lack a comprehensive understanding of how these factors hinder an individual's ability to obtain mammography screenings, particularly in urban and rural areas of Ohio. The introduction of mammography has facilitated early detection of breast cancer in women. By identifying gaps in access to mammography and implementing changes to improve accessibility for underserved populations, we can significantly improve morbidity and mortality outcomes related to breast cancer.

Objective: To identify gaps in access to mammography screening in patients experiencing social determinants of health living in urban and rural counties of Ohio.

Methods: We evaluated mammography screening rates among Medicare patients in rural and urban Ohio counties for 2016 and 2022. Our analysis explored the correlation between screening rates and primary care physician availability, median household income and high school completion. Data was extracted from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

Results: Our results indicated that patients with lower median household income in urban areas of Ohio experienced more difficulty in obtaining mammography services. Additionally, a high patient to primary care physician (PCP) ratio was correlated with lower rates of mammography in urban regions of Ohio.

Conclusions: Understanding an individual’s socioeconomic barriers can empower physicians to recognize health disparities and advocate for preventive mammography screenings. Increasing mammography rates for patients affected by social determinants of health requires a comprehensive, patient-centered approach.