Mobile mammography participation among medically underserved women: A systematic review

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Introduction Although breast cancer deaths have declined, the mortality rate among women from medically underserved communities is disproportionally high. Screening mammography is the most effective tool for detecting breast cancer in its early stages, yet many women from medically underserved communities do not have adequate access to screening mammograms. Mobile mammography may be able to bridge this gap by providing screening mammograms at no cost or low cost and delivering services to women in their own neighborhoods, thus eliminating cost and transportation barriers. The objective of this systematic review was to describe the scope and impact of mobile mammography programs in promoting mammographic screening participation among medically underserved women. Methods We searched electronic databases for English-language articles published in the United States from January 2010 through March 2018 by using the terms "mobile health unit," "mammogram," "mammography," and "breast cancer screening." Of the 93 articles initially identified, we screened 55; 16 were eligible to be assessed and 10 qualified for full text review and data extraction. Each study was coded for study purpose, research design, data collection, population targeted, location, sample size, outcomes, predictors, analytical methods, and findings. Results Of the 10 studies that qualified for review, 4 compared mobile mammography users with users of fixed units, and the other 6 characterized mobile mammography users only. All the mobile mammography units included reached underserved women. Most of the women screened in mobile units were African American or Latina, low income, and/or uninsured. Mobile mammography users reported low adherence to 1-year (12%-34%) and 2-year (40%-48%) screening guidelines. Some difficulties faced by mobile clinics were patient retention, patient follow-up of abnormal or inconclusive findings, and women inaccurately perceiving their breast cancer risk. Conclusion Mobile mammography clinics may be effective at reaching medically underserved women. Adding patient navigation to mobile mammography programs may promote attendance at mobile sites and increase follow-up adherence. Efforts to promote mammographic screening should target women from racial/ethnic minority groups, women from low-income households, and uninsured women. Future research is needed to understand how to best improve visits to mobile mammography clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180291
JournalPreventing chronic disease
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


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