Factors affecting women's response to an invitation to attend for a second breast cancer screening examination.
Orton M., Fitzpatrick R., Fuller A., Mant D., Mlynek C., Thorogood M.
A survey was conducted to study the impact of women's previous experiences of breast cancer screening on their subsequent readiness to reattend. Women aged 45-64 years from three general practices were invited to attend for a second breast cancer screening test at a mobile clinic. Of the 1582 women who were invited, 1408 (89.0%) reattended. A questionnaire about their experience of the previous screening test was completed by 641 women who attended and 124 who did not attend the second test. Twenty six per cent of the women had found the previous test painful, and a minority also reported embarrassment (7%) or distress (6%). Women who did not reattend were significantly more likely than those who did to report the previous screening test as embarrassing or distressing and were significantly less likely to have found the clinic staff helpful or attendance for screening worthwhile or reassuring. No significant difference was found in the reattendance rate of women who had experienced a false positive result at the previous screening test compared with the remaining women. These results show that there may be substantial scope for reducing non-attendance by improving the way the service is provided, thereby enhancing the overall impact of breast cancer screening.