Barriers To Mammography
Researchers have been trying to identify why American women do not follow the
generally accepted guidelines for having screening mammography tests. While
the answer is probably slightly different for each overdue woman, questions
have been raised about how the discomfort of the procedure might impact a woman's
reluctance to have her test. A study to evaluate this was recently published
in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2003): researchers found that
physical discomfort did not deter most of the women in their study from getting
repeat or follow-up exams. The much more relevant factor in their decision
to delay was the anxiety associated with "worrying" or "stressing out" about
This study surveyed 200 women over age 40. The pain or discomfort they reported
from their mammograms was relatively low. In fact, 96% of the women in this
study said that their level of discomfort was either what they expected or less
than they expected; 94% said they were likely to have a repeat mammogram the
following year. However, 39% of the women said that the most unsettling part
of the mammogram process was the stress of waiting for the results. If this
is a concern for you, ask your radiology group when you make your appointment
if you will have the opportunity to speak with the radiologist following your
mammogram to discuss your results. Let them know if this is important to you.
. .especially if you are one of the women whose stress over the possible results
is a barrier for you to get the screening tests you need.
For more information about depression or other mental health issues, click
Created: 10/17/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.