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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Jun;23(3):318-21.

Perceptions of screening mammography among women aged 40-49.

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School of Population Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales.



The aim of this study was to survey women aged 40 to 49 to determine their perceptions of the benefits and the downsides of screening mammography for women in this age group, and the degree of support for targeting women aged 40 to 49 in the national BreastScreen program.


Telephone interviews were used in a two-stage survey of 200 women aged 40 to 49 from across Australia in 1997. Information that outlined some of the evidence for costs and effectiveness of screening in this age group was sent to the women after the first survey.


Women saw both benefits and downsides of mammography screening in this age group. Although the proportion of women reporting downsides increased from (39%) to (69%), after reading the information most women (62%) still thought the benefits outweigh the downsides of offering a screening program to women aged 40-49 and the majority (66%) supported the notion of government funding for this. Most women agreed that women aged 40 to 49 have to be informed about all the advantages and disadvantages of screening before making a decision to attend.


If women aged 40-49 were to be actively recruited to a government screening program, an information campaign should be undertaken that outlines the benefits and downsides of screening mammography to foster informed participation.


Community views are a helpful contribution to debates about policy when existing data are ambiguous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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