Short Communication

Construction of knowledge and perception of mammography in the UK

30 Sep 2008
M Takechi

Objective: The benefit of mammography is overestimated among UK women, although the National Health Service (NHS) offers comprehensive information about breast screening with its official pamphlet. This study examined how women in the UK construct their views of mammography and how they interpret the information in the NHS pamphlets and newspaper articles about breast screening.

Methods: Focus groups and individual interviews with 11 female participants aged 26–58 were conducted using a baseline questionnaire.

Results: Many participants possessed knowledge about mammography, which differed from the medical consensus. Various factors, including self-beliefs, experience of breast cancer or being screened with a mammogram and stories from friends and relatives, could influence the participant's view about breast screening with a mammogram. Sceptical attitudes towards the media description of breast screening issues were revealed. The participants felt that the NHS pamphlets offered enough information about breast screening.

Conclusion: The women in this study showed that people may not be surrounded by the practical information sources to know about mammogram efficacy until they are invited to the breast screening. In order to achieve democratic discussion over breast screening, including mammography, the NHS and mass media have room for further cooperation to provide the full picture of breast screening to the public.

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