Publication Abstract

Authors: Barratt AL, Cockburn J, Redman S, Paul C, Perkins J

Title: Mammographic screening: results from the 1996 National Breast Health Survey.

Journal: Med J Aust 167(10):521-4

Date: 1997 Nov 17

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To establish the extent of women's knowledge of mammographic screening, particularly in relation to the national screening program, BreastScreen Australia, and to estimate the proportion of women who are participating in screening both within and outside BreastScreen Australia. DESIGN AND SETTING: Validated prospective telephone survey of women aged 30-69 years selected at random from across Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 2935 women with no previous breast cancer diagnosis. RESULTS: The adjusted response rate was 64%. Almost 90% of women had heard of the national program; only 1% correctly stated that screening is for asymptomatic women. 60% correctly identified the current recommended age of starting screening is about 50 years of age; 26% thought screening should begin at about 40 years of age. Approximately 60% correctly reported that the recommended screening interval is every two years; 27% thought screening should be done annually. 55% reported ever having had a mammogram, and 37% reported having had at least one screening mammogram. Among women in the target age group (50-69 years) about 70% reported ever having had a screening mammogram, and about 50% reported having had a screening mammogram within the national program in the last two years. Among women aged 40-49 years, 29% reported ever having had a screening mammogram, and 22% reported having been screened in the last two years. CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of the national screening program is high, but some women do not know the purpose of screening, the target age group and the recommended screening interval. Compliance with screening is good among women in the target age group; many women in their 40s are also participating in screening.