Lack of validity of self-reported mammography data

Fam Med Community Health. 2019 Jan 29;7(1):e000096. doi: 10.1136/fmch-2018-000096. eCollection 2019.


This qualitative literature review aimed to describe the totality of peer-reviewed scientific evidence from 1990 to 2017 concerning validity of self-reported mammography. This review included articles about mammography containing the words accuracy, validity, specificity, sensitivity, reliability or reproducibility; titles containing self-report, recall or patient reports, and breast or 'mammo'; and references of identified citations focusing on evaluation of 2-year self-reports. Of 45 publications meeting the eligibility criteria, 2 conducted in 1993 and 1995 at health maintenance organisations in Western USA which primarily served highly educated whites provided support for self-reports of mammography over 2 years. Methodological concerns about validity of self-reports included (1) telescoping, (2) biased overestimates particularly among black women, (3) failure to distinguish screening and diagnostic mammography, and (4) failure to address episodic versus consistent mammography use. The current totality of evidence supports the need for research to reconsider the validity of self-reported mammography data as well as the feasibility of alternative surveillance data sources to achieve the goals of the Healthy People Initiative.

Keywords: narrative review; self-reported mammography.