Latinas tend to prefer fixed-site over mobile mammography—but many come around with education, experience

Screening mammography providers “on wheels” planning to serve medically underserved Latino communities would do well to first communicate with each community on perceptions of such services and, where needed, to offer education prior to rolling in.

That’s according to the authors of a study published online Oct. 19 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The researchers found that the Latinas who responded to their survey—included those who’ve never had a mammography experience to go by—much prefer to get their mammograms at a fixed facility rather than in a mobile unit.

The most common causes of mobile-averse attitudes turned out to be concerns over privacy, comfort and quality.

In introducing their findings, John R. Scheel, MD, PhD, MPH, of the University of Washington and colleagues note that Latinas are more likely than non-Latina whites to get diagnosed late with, and to die from, their breast cancer.

Hence the need for proactive screening outreach, to which mobile services certainly can contribute, as the team further found negative attitudes turned positive following good experiences with mobile mammography.

Scheel and team used two survey-based studies, one quantitative and the other qualitative, then analyzed results based on 538 responses from Seattle-area Latinas.

The majority of respondents, 52.3 percent, said they preferred getting a mammogram at a fixed facility. Only 1.7 percent, nine of the 539, said they preferred mobile.

On the other hand, 46.3 percent said they had no preference. And, in the qualitative study, women who had expressed concerns over privacy, comfort and quality—the most commonly cited sources of trepidation—“became positive toward the mobile mammographic services after obtaining a mammogram,” the authors report.

“These findings highlight the need to include community education when using mobile mammographic service to increase screening mammography rates in underserved communities,” Scheel et al. write. “Future breast cancer screening programs planning to use mobile mammographic services as a strategy to increase screening mammography rates in a community may be well served to first investigate and address the target community’s perceptions about these services.”