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Survey Finds Challenges in Breast Cancer Awareness

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- American women’s concerns about their risk of breast cancer has subsided in the past six years and few can cite either the age or frequency at which mammograms are recommended -- signs of the ongoing challenge in keeping breast cancer awareness at the forefront of public attention.

While mammograms are common, this new ABC News poll finds that one in four women age 50 and older -- the now-recommended age -- don’t report ever having had one.  There are particular shortfalls in mammogram screening among lower-income women and nonwhites.  Nearly half of all women, moreover, say they’ve never discussed breast cancer with a doctor.  And fewer now than six years ago report doing self-examinations.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

On an issue of recent debate, just more than half, 52 percent, say they’d be interested in being tested to find if they have the gene associated with a high risk of breast cancer.  But strong interest wanes to 28 percent -- and, even if they carry the gene, most say they’d be disinclined to opt for a preventive mastectomy, the path taken recently by actress Angelina Jolie.

In many of these, age and having had a close relative diagnosed with breast cancer influence women’s attitudes and behavior.  Concern about risk, talking with a doctor and having had a mammogram all rise among women who have had a close relative diagnosed, and the latter two increase, as well, among those who’ve reached middle age.

This survey was produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates in support of division-wide ABC News coverage of breast cancer awareness, “ABC Goes Pink,” which begins airing Oct. 1 on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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