Benefits of collecting local data on breast cancer and mammography practices in northwestern Pennsylvania.
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Benefits of collecting local data on breast cancer and mammography practices in northwestern Pennsylvania.

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The use of local data on cancer incidence and mortality and on risk-related behaviors to help communities set priorities and guide program planning is an important facet of the National Cancer Institute's Program, "Data-Based Intervention Research for Public Health Agencies." As a participant in this program, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has developed a "breast cancer profile" for a seven-county, predominantly rural region of northwestern Pennsylvania. Community hospitals in the area are collaborating with the health department to develop interventions to enhance screening mammography. The availability of the profiles allowed hospitals to compare local breast cancer risk and screening activities with those of the State and nation, to target interventions, and to establish a baseline to measure changes over time. The data generated great interest among health professionals in northwestern Pennsylvania because, contrary to their expectations, the region was quite similar to the State and nation. While the proportion of women ages 40 and older who had ever had a mammogram was relatively high (66 percent), the proportion with more than one mammogram was considerably lower (43 percent), suggesting that hospitals focus on promoting regular mammography. Although it is feasible to develop data-based interventions for local areas, the effort is not trivial. State and national agencies must cooperate to ensure comparability of data collection and reports so that comparisons of local, State, and national data can be produced routinely.
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