Factors that may discourage annual mammography among low-income women with access to free mammograms: a study using multi-ethnic, multiracial focus groups

Psychol Rep. 1999 Oct;85(2):405-16. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1999.85.2.405.


Age-eligible women enrolled in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program can obtain free or low-cost mammograms annually, but many do not routinely complete rescreening. This study investigated the rescreening behavior of low-income women by conducting 8 focus groups in Texas with enrollees who had access to free mammograms. Concerns mentioned in the focus groups included fear of radiation, anxiety that the test might not find a cancer that was there, and worries that cancer might be detected. In all groups, some women mentioned the embarrassment, discomfort, or pain they experienced during a prior mammogram, although no one indicated they would refuse to have another mammogram because of these concerns. Findings highlight the useful insights that can be obtained from focus groups and underscore the need for more research on aspects of the experience of mammography that may affect rescreening.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health*