Background: There is a need for interventions to promote uptake of breast screening throughout Europe.
Methods: We performed a single-blind randomised controlled trial to test whether text-message reminders were effective. Two thousand two hundred and forty women receiving their first breast screening invitation were included in the study and randomly assigned in a 1 : 1 ratio to receive either a normal invitation only (n=1118) or a normal invitation plus a text-message reminder 48 h before their appointment (n=1122).
Findings: In the intention-to-treat analysis, uptake of breast screening was 59.1% among women in the normal invitation group and 64.4% in the text-message reminder group (χ(2)=6.47, odds ratio (OR): 1.26, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05-1.48, P=0.01). Of the 1122 women assigned to the text-message reminder group, only 456 (41%) had a mobile number recorded by their GP and were thereby sent a text. In the per-protocol analysis, uptake by those in the control group who had a mobile number recorded on the GP system was 59.77% and by those in the intervention group who were sent a reminder 71.7% (χ(2)=14.12, OR=1.71, 95% CI=1.29-2.26, P<0.01).
Interpretation: Sending women a text-message reminder before their first routine breast screening appointment significantly increased attendance. This information can be used to allocate resources efficiently to improve uptake without exacerbating social inequalities.