Nonparticipation in mammography screening: apathy, anxiety or cost?

N Z Med J. 1993 Jul 14;106(959):284-6.


Aims: A survey was undertaken to find out why only 46% of eligible women had taken the opportunity to join the South Canterbury mammography screening programme in the first 22 months of operation.

Methods: One hundred and sixty seven randomly chosen women, aged between 40 and 65 years, who had not had a mammogram, were questioned about their knowledge of, and attitudes to, mammography screening.

Results: The answers showed that apathy, lack of concern and lack of perceived need were reasons quoted for nonattendance by almost half of respondents. Other important barriers to mammography screening were: (1) fear of a positive screen result (admitted by 39%); (2) lack of encouragement by some general practitioners (quoted by 19%); and (3) lack of knowledge about screening mammography (one third did not know that mammography was a screening and not just a diagnostic procedure). The current cost is a major deterrent for many unscreened women with only 28% saying they would be willing to pay more than $55.00, but only 10% unwilling to pay at all and only 5% quoting cost as their reason for nonattendance.

Conclusion: Strategies to improve attendance are suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mammography / economics
  • Mammography / psychology
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Marriage
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires