Background Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer and cancer related deaths in Jamaican women. In Jamaica, women often present with advanced stages of breast cancer, despite the availability of screening mammography for early detection. The utilization of screening mammography for early breast cancer diagnosis seems to be limited, and this study investigated the national patterns of mammographic screening and the impact of mammography on the diagnosis of breast cancer in Jamaica.
Methods A retrospective analysis of the records of the largest mammography clinic in Jamaica was done for the period January 2011 to December 2016. Descriptive statistics was performed on relevant patient characteristics with calculation of rates and proportions; cross-tabulations were utilized to assess relationship of covariates being studied on the outcomes of interest. Results are reported in aggregate form with no identifiable patient data.
Results 48,203 mammograms were performed during the study period. 574 women (1.2%) had mammograms suspicious for breast cancer with median age of 57 years (range 30 – 95 years); 35% were under the age of 50. 4 women with suspicious findings had undergone ‘routine mammography’, with the remaining having ‘diagnostic mammography’. 38% reported previous mammograms, with a mean interval of 8 years between previous normal mammogram and abnormal mammogram. Median age at first screening mammogram was 51 years (range 41-77).
Conclusion Breast cancer screening mammography is underutilized in Jamaica. An organized national breast cancer screening programme is recommended to improve adherence to international breast cancer screening guidelines.