Role of Mammography in Diagnosis of Breast Cancer in an Inner-City Hospital

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Mammography continues to play a strategic role in breast cancer diagnosis. Its place in the urban inner-city population among individuals in lower socioeconomic groups has been shown to differ from contemporary trends. A retrospective review of all women diagnosed with breast cancer over a 5-year period (1993 to 1997) in an inner-city hospital was undertaken. Primary cancers (128) were diagnosed in 123 patients during this period. Only 17 patients (12%) had their disease diagnosed with the help of mammography. All other 111 patients were diagnosed clinically. All 17 patients diagnosed by mammogram evaluation had Stage II carcinoma or earlier in contrast with three-fourths of the clinically detected group of patients. Twelve percent of the black women were diagnosed by mammography, whereas 21% of white patients were diagnosed by the same modality. All these proportions are lower than those cited in the regular literature. Better utilization of mammography needs to be applied in inner-city populations to improve early detection of breast cancer.