Another round in the mammography controversy.
PURPOSE: The October 2001 publication of a meta-analysis questioning the scientific basis for recommending screening mammography sparked yet a new flame of controversy about this issue. We conducted a national survey in March 2002 to provide information about women's perspectives on the issues, including the evidence regarding the efficacy of mammography and, ultimately, their intentions to continue screening. METHODS: We added 12 questions to a national telephone omnibus survey in March 2002 to assess women's reactions to the ongoing debate. Responses were collected over three waves of the twice-weekly survey to obtain data from 733 women between the ages of 40 and 69. The sample was weighted to the U.S. population for census region, age, race, ethnicity, and educational attainment. RESULTS: Consistent with prior studies, most women were getting regular mammograms (78%) (95% confidence interval [CI] 75%-81%), >90% believed that mammography is effective in detecting breast cancer (95%) (95% CI 93%-97%) and in reducing breast cancer mortality (93%) (95% CI 91%-96%), and only about 22% (95% CI 19%-25%) said they were confused. Logistic regression analyses revealed sociodemographic differences among women who had heard about the controversy and who reported some confusion about mammograms. Women with lower levels of education, younger women, and those residing in nonmetropolitan areas were significantly less likely to be aware of the controversy. Although a majority of women said they were not confused about mammography, minority women and women with lower education levels were more likely to report being confused. There were no significant demographic differences in intentions to get future mammograms. Women who were concerned about getting breast cancer were much more likely to be planning to have future mammograms than women who were not at all concerned (odds ratio [OR] 3.63; 95% CI 2.37, 5.56). Likewise, respondents who said that they had enough information to make decisions whether to get future mammograms were much more likely to plan on getting screened than women who said they did not have enough information (OR 2.47; 95% CI 1.14, 5.40). CONCLUSIONS: These results do not suggest that controversy leads to lower rates of adherence. They do indicate that some women lack the information needed to make informed decisions about mammography.
Meissner, HI; Rimer, BK; Davis, WW; Eisner, EJ; Siegler, IC
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