Tailored written invitations for second round breast cancer screening: a randomised controlled trial

J Med Screen. 1994 Oct;1(4):245-8. doi: 10.1177/096914139400100412.


Objectives: Firstly, to determine if attendance for second round mammography screening in those sent a tailored letter (that is, making reference to their screening history) is increased compared with those sent a standard letter; secondly, to investigate the acceptability of tailored letters.

Setting: North West Glasgow Breast Screening Centre.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial.

Results: Overall attendance was unrelated to whether the women were sent a tailored or standard letter; 60% of those sent the standard letter attended (922/1531) compared with 62% of those sent the tailored letter (956/1552) (chi 2 = 0.61, P = 0.4) (difference 2%; 95% confidence interval -2% to 5%). There were no significant differences in percentage attendance within each of the study subgroups: women who attended previously and received an all clear result, women who attended previously and received a false positive result, women who were invited previously and failed to attend, and women who were previously too young to be invited for screening. However, there was a statistically significant difference in percentage attendance between these four groups, independent of letter type (chi 2 = 510, P < 0.00001). Although women found the letters acceptable and understandable, they did not seem to pay close attention to the content.

Conclusions: Tailoring invitation letters does not have a significant effect on uptake rates for breast screening and does not justify the additional workload required.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Scotland