Background: Most women are not getting regular mammograms, and there is confusion about several mammography-related issues, including the age at which women should begin screening. Numerous groups have called for informed decision making about mammography, but few programs have resulted. Our research is intended to fill this gap.
Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial, which ran from 1997 to 2000. Women aged 40 to 44 and 50 to 54, who were enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, were randomly assigned to one of three groups: usual care (UC), tailored print (TP) materials, or TP plus tailored telephone counseling (TP+TC). We assessed the impact of tailored interventions on knowledge about breast cancer and mammography, accuracy of breast cancer risk perceptions, and use of mammography at two time points after intervention-12 and 24 months.
Results: At 12 and 24 months, women who received TP+TC had significantly greater knowledge and more accurate breast cancer risk perceptions. Compared to UC, they were 40% more likely to have had mammograms (odds ratio=0.9-2.1). The effect was primarily for women in their 50s. TP had significant effects for knowledge and accuracy, but women who received TP were less likely to have had mammography.
Conclusions: Decision-making interventions, comprised of two tailored print interventions (booklet and newsletter), delivered a year apart, with or without two tailored telephone calls, significantly increased knowledge and accuracy of perceived breast cancer risk at 12 and 24 months post-intervention. The effect on mammography use was significant in bivariate relationships but had a much more modest impact in multivariate analyses.