More than 70% of women would rather get screened for mammograms annually, despite the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that women at average risk for breast cancer be screened every 2 years beginning at age 50, according to recent data.
The findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America next week.
“The USPSTF associates annual screening mammography with ’harm,’” Ghizlane Bouzghar, MD, chief radiology resident at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, said in a press release, referring to the unnecessary anxieties and biopsies associated with false-positive results that the USPSTF mentions in its recommendation. “There is no study to date that looked at women’s preference regarding annual vs. biennial screening mammography, and whether women think that biennial screening causes less, equal or more anxiety.”
Researchers asked 731 women (mean age, 59 years) undergoing a diagnostic or screening mammogram whether a biennial screening mammogram is associated with less or more anxiety, whether women prefer to have a screening mammogram every other year instead of every year, and if an abnormal mammogram or breast biopsy causes emotional harm. The one-time surveys were voluntary and anonymous. Researchers also gathered data on a patient’s age, personal or family history of breast cancer, prior breast biopsy and/or abnormal mammogram, race and underlying anxiety disorder.
Bouzghar and colleagues found that 71% of those surveyed preferred annual instead of biennial screening mammography (95% CI, 0.68-0.75). Participants “overwhelmingly” preferred annual screening regardless of how they answered the additional survey questions. A previous breast biopsy (risk difference = –0.09; P= .01) and family history of breast cancer (risk difference = –0.11; P = .002) were the only variables that had even more positive influence on annual screening mammogram preference. In addition, among patients who reported a previous abnormal mammogram, only 13% believed screening every 2 years would cause less anxiety (P = .0001); while among all participants, only 17% felt screening every 2 years would result in less anxiety.
“Many women are much better educated about the value of screening mammography than they are given credit for," she said in the release. “I also think that some of the USPSTF’s concerns about the ‘harms’ were somewhat paternalistic, and in 2017 women are more empowered about many things, including their health care.” - by Janel Miller
Bouzghar, et al. BR222-SD-MOA2. Presented at: Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting. Nov. 26–Dec. 1, 2017; Chicago.
Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine the authors’ relevant disclosures prior to publication.