Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Prev Med. 2011 Oct;41(4):421-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.06.040.

Telephone counseling and attendance in a national mammography-screening program a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University Medical Center Greifswald, Germany.



In Germany, a mammography-screening program (MSP) was implemented on a national level. It complies with all criteria of the European guidelines for quality assurance in screening mammography; however, the attendance rate is 54%, falling short of the target attendance rate of 70%. The aim of this study was to investigate whether additional telephone counseling improves attendance among nonresponders and the level of satisfaction with telephone counseling.


In a prospective RCT, women identified as nonresponders in the MSP were randomized to a control group that received written reminders or to an intervention group that additionally received telephone counseling. In a follow-up, a subset of the intervention group was contacted by telephone regarding their satisfaction with telephone counseling.


In 2008, a total of 5477 women aged 50-69 years who were eligible for the German MSP but had not participated up to 6 weeks after the first invitation were included in the study.


Individual telephone counseling consisted of scripted calls from a trained counselor who provided information on MSP and answered the woman's questions.


Report of mammography use provided by the screening unit 3 months after the reminder was sent.


Analysis was conducted in 2009. Comparison of screening attendance revealed a significantly higher attendance rate in the intervention group compared with controls (29.7% vs 26.1%, p=0.0035). When only women for whom telephone numbers were available were analyzed, attendance was even better (35.5% vs 29.7%, p=0.0004). In the follow-up, 278 of 404 women were actually surveyed. Of those, 33% stated that telephone counseling had influenced their decision, 56% stated that they had undergone screening mammography, and 77% agreed that personal telephone counseling should be used routinely to encourage nonresponders to go for screening.


Individual telephone counseling for nonresponders to a national program for breast cancer screening was well accepted by participants and effective.


This study is registered at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000645954.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center