Mammography and women over 65
© BioMed Central 2002
Published: 1 July 2002
Self-referral mammography is available for all women over the age of 65. In our unit 80% of women in the 50–64 year age group and 15% in the over 65 age group attend for screening. The aim of the study was to assess why only a small percentage of women referred themselves for screening.
This was mainly a postal questionnaire study (symptomatic patients were given the questionnaires by the clinician).
One hundred and seventy-five questionnaires were sent and 101 (57.7%) were returned. The main reason for self-referral was reminder by radiographers (43%) and the credit card reminder (26%) which is used in our unit. Of non-attendees, 68% thought it was not important to attend after the age of 65.
In this small study we have shown that older women are still not aware of their risks with regard to breast cancer. Women believe that because screening stops at 64 their risk of getting breast cancer also stops. This study shows that radiographers have a strong influence on women attending screening.
Women over 65 need more education about breast cancer both with regard to their risks and why regular screening is valuable. The extension of screening age may address some of these issues.