Communication Channels Used by Women to Contact a Population-Based Breast Cancer Screening Program in Catalonia, Spain

J Med Syst. 2019 Jun 24;43(8):244. doi: 10.1007/s10916-019-1382-6.


Communication is a corner stone of population-based breast cancer screening programs that need to invite all the women from their target population and provide them with balanced information on screening to guaranty informed participation. Invited women also need to be able to contact screening programs to get further information on screening procedures and/or cancel and reschedule appointments. This study describes the communication channels used by women invited for breast cancer screening to contact the program. The study population consisted of 141,684 women, aged 50-69 years, who were invited during 2015-2016 for screening by the Catalan Breast Cancer Screening Program (Spain). Multiple logistic regression models were performed to assess the association between age, screening history, socioeconomic status and reasons for contacting the program and the outcome variables (contact with the program; contact through information and communication technology (ICT) channels). Among the 141,684 women invited for BC screening, 22.5% contacted the screening office mainly to reschedule (42.2%) and cancel (29.2%) appointments. While the communication channel mostly used was the telephone, 24.8% of the women used ICT. ICT was more frequently used by women who had never been screened. Women who wanted to change their appointment were 65% (OR 1.65, 95%CI 1.54-1.76) more likely to use ICT than women who wanted to cancel it. This study showed the need to reinforce communication between women and breast cancer screening programs and the importance of offering communication channels suiting all women's needs to facilitate appointments' rescheduling and cancelling and therefore improve screening programs' efficiency.

Keywords: Breast cancer screening; Communication channels; Information and communication technology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Theory*
  • Logistic Models
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain