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Originally posted April 8, 1998

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -

Michigan's strict mammography regulations, enacted in 1989 and beefed up in 1994, improved the quality of mammograms and did not limit access to the cancer-screening procedure, according to a new analysis.

These findings are significant beyond Michigan's borders, because federal mammography standards have been enacted which closely mirror the Michigan model. The success of Michigan's law, which was the first of its kind in the nation, suggests the federal regulations also will reap positive results. The White House authorized the stricter national standards in October.

Each year, more than 20 million U.S. women undergo mammography, a procedure shown to be an effective method of controlling breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Prior to the federal mammography regulations, quality standards varied from state to state.

The study analyzing the effects of Michigan's mammography law is detailed in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The article's lead author is Lou Fintor, M.A., M.P.H., a faculty research investigator in the Internal Medicine Department at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The bottom line is that after Michigan enacted its stricter standards:

  • The image quality of mammograms improved significantly, meaning doctors can better read and interpret them.
  • The number of mammography facilities and machines operating in the state did not decline significantly.
  • Trends in overall use of mammography in Michigan
  • was similar to those in other states, strongly suggesting the tougher regulations did not limit access to mammography.


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