Publication Abstract

Authors: Brunton M, Thomas DR

Title: Privacy or life: how do women find out about screening mammography services?

Journal: N Z Med J 115(1161):U168-

Date: 2002 Sep 13

Abstract: AIM: This study investigated how women found out about the Waikato pilot breast cancer screening programme and what influenced them to participate. METHODS: A sample of 1085 women who had undergone screening mammography were sent survey questionnaires in 1999 to investigate how they had found out about the programme and what had influenced them to participate. Data from 599 completed questionnaires were analysed. RESULTS: The most common external sources of information about the availability of screening mammography were: letters of invitation (42%), family doctors (42%), television (32%), and newspapers (27%). The most important external sources of influence for attending screening were: letter of invitation (28%), and knowing someone with breast cancer (27%). CONCLUSIONS: Letters of invitation from the programme provide an important source of influence for attending screening mammography clinics. Up-to-date databases are needed to ensure that women receive information from the screening programme. There was an inconsistency between the government policy to provide a population-based screening programme and the operation of the Privacy Act 1993, which prevents use of other sources of information to update addresses for population groups most likely to benefit from screening. The high gone, no address rate reduced ongoing screening among women who depend on receiving regular recall notices.