Title: Racial and socioeconomic inequities in breast cancer screening before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: analysis of two cohorts of women 50 years +
Country: United States
Age: Adult Only
Population: Multiple Groups
Care Setting: Outpatient Ambulatory and Primary Care
Clinical Setting: Breast Cancer Screening
Data Level: State
Data Type: Private Survey
Data Source: Local data
Conclusion: Disparities In Some Minority Groups
Health OutComes Reported: No
Free Text Conclusion: Asian patients experienced steeper declines in screening.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Routine screening mammography at two-year intervals is widely recommended for the prevention and early detection of breast cancer for women who are 50 years+ . Racial and other sociodemographic inequities in routine cancer screening are well-documented, but less is known about how these long-standing inequities were impacted by the disruption in health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the pandemic, cancer screening and other prevention services were suspended or delayed, and these disruptions may have had to disproportionate impact on some sociodemographic groups. We tested the hypothesis that inequities in screening mammography widened during the pandemic. METHODS: A secondary analysis of patient data from a large state-wide, non-profit healthcare system in Washington State. Analyses were based on two mutually exclusive cohorts of women 50 years or older. The first cohort (n = 18,197) were those women screened in 2017 who would have been due for repeat screening in 2019 (prior to the pandemic's onset). The second cohort (n = 16,391) were women screened in 2018 due in 2020. Explanatory variables were obtained from patient records and included race/ethnicity, age, rural or urban residence, and insurance type. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated odds of two-year screening for each cohort separately. Combining both cohorts, interaction models were used to test for differences in inequities before and during the pandemic. RESULTS: Significant sociodemographic differences in screening were confirmed during the pandemic, but these were similar to those that existed prior. Based on interaction models, women using Medicaid insurance and of Asian race experienced significantly steeper declines in screening than privately insured and white women (Odds ratios [95% CI] of 0.74 [0.58-0.95] and 0.76 [0.59-0.97] for Medicaid and Asian race, respectively). All other sociodemographic inequities in screening during 2020 were not significantly different from those in 2019. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm inequities for screening mammograms during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide evidence that these largely reflect the inequities in screening that were present before the pandemic. Policies and interventions to tackle long-standing inequities in use of preventive services may help ensure continuity of care for all, but especially for racial and ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.