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Review Article

Effect of rurality on screening for breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing mammography

Submitted: 27 June 2013
Revised: 15 October 2013
Accepted: 8 November 2013
Published: 23 June 2014

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Author(s) : Leung J, McKenzie S, Martin J, McLaughlin D.

Janni LeungSamantha McKenzieJennifer MartinDeirdre McLaughlin

Citation: Leung J, McKenzie S, Martin J, McLaughlin D.  Effect of rurality on screening for breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing mammography. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2014; 14: 2730. Available: (Accessed 19 October 2017)


Introduction:  The lower breast cancer survival rate observed among rural women may be related to differences in screening access and utilization. We evaluated existing evidence for rural and urban differences in mammography service use in adult women.
Methods:  A systematic search was conducted on 4 April 2012 and updated on 1 November 2012, which yielded 28 studies for inclusion.
Results:  The rural population was less likely to have mammographic breast screening, and this difference was consistent in various areas of the USA as well as across a number of other countries. Meta-analyses using random effects models showed that women residing in rural areas were less likely than urban women to have ever had a mammogram (odds ratio (OR)=0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.62–0.89) or to have an up-to-date mammogram (OR=0.59, 95%CI=0.49–0.70).
Conclusions:  Mammography is currently the best tool for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. The rural disadvantage this review has identified may contribute to the lower breast cancer survival among women living outside urban areas.

Key words: breast cancer, breast neoplasms, early detection of cancer, mammography, rural health services.

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