Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 156-164

First online:

Urban Women’s Preferences for Learning of Their Mammogram Result: A Qualitative Study

  • Erin N. MarcusAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, University of MiamiSylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Indian River State College Email author 
  • , Darlene DrummondAffiliated withDepartment of English, Communications and Modern Languages, Indian River State College
  • , Noella DietzAffiliated withSylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Indian River State CollegeDepartment of Epidemiology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami

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Research suggests that communication of mammogram results is flawed for many low-income ethnic minority women. This study conducted four focus groups with low-income inner-city minority women (n = 34). The goals of our project were: (1) to elucidate women's experiences learning of their result; (2) to elicit their preferences as to how this communication could be improved; and (3) to gather information to help inform the development of a new tool for communicating mammogram results. Salient themes included dissatisfaction with result communication; difficulty elucidating the meaning of a typical results notification letter; a preference for direct verbal communication of results and for print materials that included pictures, testimonials, and an action plan including a hotline to call with questions; and a strong interest in advance education about the likelihood of having to return for additional follow up. Video and other programs to inform patients before the test about what happens after may improve patient satisfaction and enhance women's understanding of their personal result and follow up plan.


Mammography Health communication Breast cancer screening Underserved populations Health literacy Follow-up Adherence Risk communication