March 31, 2014

American women were less likely to receive a mammogram or Pap smear during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 than they were five years earlier, according to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The nationwide decline in screening rates was most pronounced among white women. "Economic recessions lead to unemployment, loss of health insurance, and loss of income, which can have a negative impact on preventive services such as cancer screening," said Dr. Christopher King, lecturer in the department of health services administration and the study's lead author. "We found a reduction in breast and cervical cancer screenings during the Great Recession, and there were noteworthy differences by race and ethnicity. Screening rates among white women fell, which is not surprising since about three million whites lost insurance coverage during the recession, but rates among African American women stayed about the same and rates among Hispanic women actually improved."

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Christopher King