Would male radiographers have an impact on breast screening programme performance?
© BioMed Central Ltd 2008
Published: 7 July 2008
There is little research regarding attitudes to male radiographers for mammography, particularly for screening. Radiographer recruitment has been a challenge for BreastCheck, the Irish Breast Screening Programme; to date, females are employed. Programme expansion to the remaining half of the target population has commenced and doubling of radiographer numbers is required.
The aim was to document attitudes to male radiographers and the effect on the programme performance parameters through a postal questionnaire completed by 85.8% of a random sample of 2,000 women recently screened by BreastCheck.
Embarrassment was the commonest likely initial reaction if male radiographers were present; greater among those at static units (45.6%) than mobile units (38.4%) and in younger women (46%) than older women (38.7%). Nine per cent would not have proceeded if the radiographer was male; 17.5% (95% CI = 15.7% to 19.4%) agreed that 'If there were male radiographers I would not return for another screening appointment'; and 18.3% were unsure. One-quarter agreed 'If I heard there could be male radiographers it would change my opinion of BreastCheck for the worse'. Response to gender was less marked when further investigations to rule out or confirm cancer were in question.
This is the largest study of this issue; the correct balance between equality and programme performance must be struck.