Is a lack of personalization keeping women from mammograms?

Recent Swedish-based research examined the reasoning behind women refraining from mammography screenings. Published in the online version of Radiography in August, researchers T. Sterlingova and M. Lunden designed a qualitative study to collect data on why women refrain from getting mammographies. 

Out of a list of women who did not participate in their last mammography screening, 11 agreed to participate in the interview to discuss their views on mammography and 10 successful interviews were conducted. Nine in-person and one telephone interviews were conducted with the women to aggregate data for the analysis. 

The majority of the women had a positive attitude toward mammographies. The two women who had a negative outlook did not want to get their screening. 

“The various mammography experiences of the respondents have led to their diverse attitudes to this procedure,” the authors wrote. “Their perceptions and expectations varied in terms of communication, knowledge, and the help they needed.” 

Two categories were identified from the content analysis: individual needs (knowledge, physical and psychological experience related to the procedure) and absence of active promotion (reminder system and availability of appointments due to lifestyle). The main theme that emerged from the analysis was a “non-personalized system.” 

“The main theme in the current study formulated as a ‘non-personalized system’ has a broader perspective: eight respondents in the current study refrained from mammography screening because of deficient promotion and the absence of a reminder system,” the authors wrote. “All women from this group asked about the possibility of doing their mammograms when they visited the hospital in connection with their interviews despite the fact that some of them had compared this procedure to an assembly line.” 

The authors noted the results of their study were affected by the limited number of participants with a negative attitude toward mammography and urged for further studies to be conducted with such participants.