Purpose/objectives: To determine women's satisfaction and experience with breast cancer screening and associated factors.
Design: Exploratory, descriptive design.
Setting: One center of the Ontario Breast Screening Program, a province-wide breast cancer screening program.
Sample: Nonprobability sample of 315 asymptomatic women, age 50 years or older, with no previous history of breast malignancy.
Methods: Data were collected from the entire sample of 315 women immediately postscreening using a self-report questionnaire and from a subgroup of 256 women by telephone interview at three weeks post-screening.
Main research variables: Satisfaction with and intentions and anxiety regarding breast cancer screening.
Findings: Overall, women reported a high level of satisfaction with their screening experience, including respect for privacy, encouragement to ask questions, and provision of information. Two areas of concern that participants identified were mammogram discomfort and fear about radiation risks. At the postscreening interview, women reported that breast screening had relatively little impact on social or physical aspects of their lives, but it did have a positive effect on certain emotional issues, such as their feelings of reassurance, well-being, and relaxation.
Conclusion: Since the degree of satisfaction that participants in health services report has been shown to influence attendance patterns, assessing breast screening programs from the perspective of attendees is necessary. Such assessment can identify areas of satisfaction and concern and, thus, provide information for developing interventions aimed at promoting recruitment and retention.
Implications for nursing practice: As health educators, nurses play an important role in providing breast cancer screening information to women. As well as being knowledgeable about screening guidelines and the benefits of screening, nurses also must recognize women's concerns about radiation risks and pain or discomfort with the procedure and be prepared to provide teaching and support for these women.