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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Choice Is Related to More Breast Cancer Screening

Women under 50 who are given a choice about whether to have mammograms are three times more likely to undergo the screening, but improved patient–provider communication does not influence mammography rates, a study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers says.

The study, published in the Journal of Health Communication, found that mammogram utilization was higher among women who perceived being given a choice by their providers about whether to undergo screening. The study found that few women under age 50—31 percent—perceived that they were being given a choice to undergo screening. But when they did, they were more likely than others to opt for mammography. What was unclear was whether physicians who didn’t give patients a choice instead recommended against mammography, based on the new guidelines.

The results “could be influenced by the content of the physician messages about cancer screenings,” the study says. “Our finding of increased utilization among women who perceived being given a choice . . . may have been the result of differences in provider recommendations.”

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