News | Breast Density | July 19, 2022

Working with Patient Advisory Group to Ensure Content is Understandable and Actionable 

When radiologists review mammograms, they can see how dense the breasts are. Below are four mammogram images of breasts. The two images on the right are referred to as dense breasts.

July 19, 2022 — DenseBreast-info.org (DB-i) has completed a health literacy update of patient educational materials on the website, making the content easier to understand and to act on. The project included the launch of a Patient Advisory Group whose input reinforced the need for “simple” language.  

“Low health literacy contributes to disparities in cancer care. Mammogram results letters can be difficult to understand and unclear.  Lack of understanding can impact decisions and, ultimately, outcomes,” said JoAnn Pushkin, Executive Director, DenseBreast-info. “As a resource women may turn to on the topic, we worked to balance information, delivery, and suggested action. The sweet spot is medically sourced information in simple language, presented in an easy-to-read format.”  

Word selection, images, and an easy-to-use format help readers understand and act on the materials. These changes will help women make decisions about their breast health. Patient understanding was improved with “simple language” updates (see graphic). 

According to Patti Beyer, a density inform advocate, and Patient Advisory Group member, “Accurate and understandable information is important for patients, especially as women may be hesitant to say they don’t understand a term or recommendation.” 

“Density inform letters raise awareness about the implications of dense breast tissue, but they often are unclear about what the woman should do with the information. Health providers may also lack clarity about the risks of dense breasts and the benefits and considerations for additional screening beyond mammography.  Women must be able to find clear information to guide their decisions.  We are helping them do that.” said Wendie Berg, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Magee-Womens Hospital, Department of Radiology and Chief Scientific Advisor, DenseBreast-info.org. 

For more information: www.densebreast-info.org 

Find more information on Breast Density 


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