News | Mammography | September 25, 2019

Discomfort May Deter Large Number of Women From Obtaining Mammograms

Nearly 1 in 6 women report in national survey that discomfort has deterred them “a lot” or “totally” from obtaining a screening mammogram as recommended

Discomfort May Deter Large Number of Women From Obtaining Mammograms

September 25, 2019 — Siemens Healthineers and national nonprofit HealthyWomen announced results from a new national survey designed to deepen understanding on how to improve women’s experiences with screening mammograms for breast cancer detection. The survey, which included responses from women over age 40 (all of whom fall under the recommended screening guidelines), revealed that while 61 percent of women said mammograms are necessary, 52 percent found them uncomfortable and 25 percent regarded them as painful.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) both recommend that women begin receiving annual mammograms at 40. The only test shown to reduce breast cancer deaths, mammograms allow for early disease detection, which greatly improves the odds of survival and can help a patient diagnosed with breast cancer avoid more extensive treatment.

The survey, which was commissioned by Siemens Healthineers and conducted by HealthyWomen, featured responses from 1,194 women 40 and older regarding their experiences with and perceptions of mammograms.

The survey findings revealed:

  • Comfort is a resonating factor and is key to encouraging women to continue mammograms as recommended: Of the 124 women who stopped receiving mammograms on an annual or biannual basis (about 10 percent of respondents), 32 percent cited unpleasant and/or painful past experiences as a deterrent.
  • Nearly 1 in 6 women report that discomfort has deterred them from getting a mammogram as recommended: Twelve (12) percent of women reported postponing a mammogram due to discomfort, and 3 percent said they would not get them anymore because of it. 
  • Most women are not aware of patient comfort options on mammography systems but would seek out medical practices offering more comfortable experiences: Fifty-four (54) percent of women said that they would be highly motivated to receive regular mammograms if they knew that some medical practices provide a more comfortable/tailored mammogram experience. Forty-nine (49) percent said they would be very likely to seek out practices offering more comfortable/tailored mammogram experiences.
  • Beyond discomfort-related concerns, radiation is also a worry for women: Of the 169 women who have not had a mammogram, nearly 16 percent reported worries about radiation as the reason.

Mammography vendors have focused recently on making improvements to their systems to enhance the patient experience. Siemens Healthineers’ Mammomat Revelation mammography system features personalized compression, soft paddles, low radiation doses and mood lighting to help improve the patient experience.

HealthyWomen posted a detailed article related to the survey findings here.

For more information: www.siemens-healthineers.com

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Timothy Whelan is a professor of oncology at McMaster University and a radiation oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre of Hamilton Health Sciences. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer Research. Photo courtesy McMaster University

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