Breast density information aims to increase awareness of breast density and its risks; an understanding of this information helps women make more informed future breast screening decisions.
A recent study in Women’s Health Issues explored how a diverse sample of women responded to breast density information and future mammography plans.
A national telephone survey was carried out on a large, diverse sample of American women: non-Hispanic black, Asian and Hispanic women, as well as women with low literacy levels. The team analysed their reactions to receiving breast density information, their plans for future mammographic screening, the associations between such information and whether they varied by women’s race/ethnicity and literacy levels.
It is crucial that we gain insight into how different groups of women respond to breast density information. These insights will allow healthcare professionals to consider how to ensure information is readily accessible and understandable to all women, whilst also ensuring that such information does not deter some from undergoing future screening.
86% of women felt informed after receiving personal breast density information, whilst 15% experienced anxiety and 11% felt confused.
Specifically, women of colour and with low literacy felt less informed, and stated feelings of anxiety and confusion. Some women with low literacy were less likely to arrange appointments for future mammograms. Non-Hispanic Black, Asian, and Hispanic women and women with low literacy were almost two to three times more likely to experience anxiety than non-Hispanic White women.
Whereas Non-Hispanic Black and Asian women were almost twice as likely to state that having information on their breast density encouraged them to have future mammograms.
It is especially concerning that women with low literacy levels were more than three times lesslikely to plan to have their next mammogram.
Author Nancy Kressin, PhD, professor of medicine, concluded, “Given that 20% of the adult US population reads below a 5th grade level, this association could negatively affect mammographic usage among a substantial proportion of people with breasts, many of whom fall within vulnerable populations with substantial inequities in breast cancer outcomes”.
Source: Boston University News
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