Mammograms and Your Heritage

Mammograms are an important healthcare tool, and every woman should have an annual mammogram beginning at age 40. Still, many women do not get regular mammograms. Does your family heritage affect your chances of getting regular screening mammograms?

The chart below, using data from the American Cancer Society, shows that there are differences based on ethnic background.

Non-Hispanic Black


Non-Hispanic White




Asian American


Native American


Women who have had a mammogram in the last two years

The chart shows that Hispanic and Asian American women in the study were less likely to have had a recent mammogram than Black or white women. Native Americans, including Alaska Natives, were the least likely to have received a mammogram within the previous two years. 

More to the story

Breast cancer rates and outcomes vary among women with different backgrounds. Black women have a lower survival rate than white women, even though they are slightly more likely to have regular screening mammograms. White women are more likely to develop breast cancer than the other groups of women but less likely to die from breast cancer.

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health looked for an explanation. They compared the experiences of Black, Hispanic, and white women in Chicago.

They found that white women were more likely than the other groups studied to get their mammograms at facilities with three characteristics:

  • academic facilities
  • facilities that relied exclusively on breast imaging specialists to read mammograms
  • facilities where digital mammography was available

The researchers concluded that “A disparity in the use of high-quality mammography may be contributing to disparities in breast cancer mortality.”

Another recent study found that Black and Hispanic women had a longer time between receiving abnormal results and having a diagnostic mammogram. They were also less likely to have 3-D mammograms than white women. Finally, Black women are less likely have breast cancer risk assessment and genetic testing. Again, these differences could be caused by a difference in the quality of care received.

While other explanations are being explored, you can choose quality care for yourself and your loved ones.

Mammogram quality at the Breast Center

The Breast Center relies exclusively on breast imaging specialists to read mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRI. All the mammogram equipment at The Breast Center’s four locations are capable of 3-D imaging. We make an effort to open breast cancer screening locations in underserved areas in Northwest Arkansas to reach women of all races and backgrounds with the best quality care available. 

The Breast Center has the highest level of certification for breast centers nationally. During registration, patients are screened for high-risk factors. Then, The Breast Center offers Risk Assessment with a specially trained nurse for women to learn more about their personal risk and develop a personalized screening plan. 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women of all ethnicities in the United States. Every woman should have regular mammograms and have access to the same quality of care. At The Breast Center, we are focused on our mission to provide hope through early detection with personalized care to every patient.