Background: Screening for breast cancer using mammography has been shown to be effective in reducing mortality from breast cancer. The authors attempted to determine if use of a wallet-size plastic screening "credit" card would increase participants' compliance for subsequent mammograms when compared with traditional methods of increasing compliance.
Methods: Two hundred and twenty consecutive women, ages 40-70 years, undergoing their first screening mammography were recruited and assigned randomly to four groups receiving (1) a reminder plastic credit card (2) reminder credit card with written reminder; (3) appointment card; and (4) verbal recommendation. Return rates of the four groups were determined after 15 months.
Results: The return rate for subsequent mammograms was significantly higher for participants (72.4%) using the credit card than for participants (39.8%) exposed to traditional encouragement/reminders (P less than 0.0001).
Conclusions: The credit card was designed to show the participant's screening anniversary, and the durability of the card may have been a factor in increasing the return rate. The use of reminder credit cards may increase compliance for periodic screening examinations for other cancers and other chronic diseases.