Breast cancer screening uptake in women at increased risk of developing hereditary breast cancer
- Cite this article as:
- Meiser, B., Butow, P., Barratt, A. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2000) 59: 101. doi:10.1023/A:1006330631832
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This multicenter study assessed breast cancer screening uptake in 461 unaffected women at increased risk of developing breast cancer on the basis of family history who approached familial cancer clinics for advice about surveillance options. At the time of attending the clinic, 89% and 90% of participants were vigilant with respect to age- and risk-specific recommendations for mammography and clinical breast examination, respectively, and 51% reported practicing breast self-examination monthly or more frequently. The degree to which health outcomes are perceived to be under one's personal control (χ2=−2.09, p=0.0037) and breast cancer anxiety (χ2=8.11,p=0.044) were both associated with monthly or more frequent breast self-examination, while there were no associations with sociodemographic characteristics. A significantly lower percentage (56%) of women aged <30 were vigilant with respect to mammography recommendations, compared to 77%, 96% and 98% of women aged 30–39, 40–49 and >50, respectively (χ2=37.2,p<0.0001). These relatively low rates of mammographic screening in young women may reflect concerns about increased cancer risk associated with early and repeated radiation exposure or lack of sensitivity in young women with radiographically dense breasts. If mammographic screening is ultimately shown to lower mortality in women at high risk, there will be a strong case to promote screening in young women. The need for regular mammographic screening would then need to be highlighted and reinforced amongst young women and their referring physicians. Awareness amongst general practitioners, who are largely responsible for referral to screening services, would also need to be increased.