Objectives: Women who delay presenting with breast cancer have a reduced chance of survival. Older women, who are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, are more likely to delay presenting with the disease. The aim of this developmental work was to design a psycho-educational intervention to promote early help-seeking by older women with breast cancer symptoms. We also aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing the intervention with women attending for their final invited mammogram in the National Health Service (NHS) Breast Screening Programme.
Methods: The intervention was designed to address the factors associated with delayed presentation by women with breast cancer. These risk factors were placed in a theoretical framework to understand patient delay. The intervention incorporated behavioural change techniques that, according to previous research, have been demonstrated to be effective.
Results: The intervention was developed in two formats to be delivered by diagnostic radiographers: a booklet alone and a brief interview plus the booklet. The intervention was acceptable to both older women and healthcare professionals in the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
Discussion: The intervention will be tested ultimately in a multicentre randomized controlled trial to determine whether it can reduce the proportion of older women who delay their presentation and thereby save lives.