Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Most recent mammography recommendations confuse public, report finds

Date:
April 6, 2011
Source:
Elsevier Health Sciences
Summary:
When the USPSTF released its recommendations on mammography screenings for US women on Nov. 16, 2009, there was immediate and considerable controversy. Investigators now report that these new recommendations confused women (30 percent) more than they helped them understand when to get a mammogram (6.2 percent). Confusion was greatest among women aged 40-49 years and women who had never had a mammogram or who had one more than two years ago.

Recent recommendations confused women more than they helped them understand when to get a mammogram, a new report finds.
Credit: PixelFractor / Fotolia

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention, released its recommendations on mammography screenings for US women on November 16, 2009, there was immediate and considerable controversy. In a study published in the May 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, investigators report that these new recommendations confused women (30.0%) more than they helped them understand when to get a mammogram (6.2%). Confusion was greatest among women aged 40-49 years and women who had never had a mammogram or who had one more than 2 years ago.

The USPSTF announcement included three sets of recommendations for women aged 40-49, 50-74 and 75 and over. Investigators from RTI International (Bethesda, MD, and Research Triangle Park, NC) assessed the volume and framing of the public discourse around the mammography recommendations to determine if women were knowledgeable about the new recommendations.

According to Linda B. Squiers, PhD, senior health communication analyst, RTI, Bethesda, MD, and her co-authors, results from this study will allow public health professionals to understand how the USPSTF's 2009 mammography screening recommendations were discussed in the media and whether women understood the reason for the debate and the new recommendations approximately one month after their release. Media coverage of the new recommendations peaked immediately following their release and was unbalanced. The majority of news articles and social media posts were unsupportive of the recommendations. The new recommendations were released during the heated debate about healthcare reform legislation, so it is not surprising that they were portrayed by some as an example of how the Obama administration planned to ration health care if the legislation passed.

RTI researchers analyzed news reports and social media posts around the time of the announcement, both of which shape public perceptions of and opinions about new information and topics. In addition, they surveyed 1,221 women for two months beginning one month after the announcement.

From 233 newspaper articles, blog posts, and tweets analyzed, 51.9% were unsupportive, and only 17.6% were supportive. Most newspaper articles and blog posts expressed negative sentiment (55.0% and 66.2%, respectively), whereas tweets were predominantly neutral (48.8%). The most common reasons mentioned for being unsupportive of the new recommendations were the belief that delaying screening would lead to later detection of more advanced breast cancer and subsequently more breast cancer-related deaths (22.5%) and the belief that the recommendations reflected government rationing of healthcare (21.9%).

In the web-based survey, the majority of respondents reported paying attention to the recommendations and those who paid more attention understood better the reasons for the controversy. However, despite the media flurry, only 20.3% of women aged 40-49 years and 23.4% of all women in the sample correctly identified the mammography recommendation for women aged 40-49 years. Overall, the new recommendations confused women more than they helped them understand when to get a mammogram. Women aged 40-49 years were significantly more likely to be confused about when they should get a mammogram than the older age group.

"The USPSTF plays a vital role in reviewing the latest scientific evidence and advising providers and consumers about prevention," concluded Squiers and her co-investigators. "For recommendations to be accepted by both groups, they first must be understood. In the field of health communication, message testing with individuals is frequently used to ensure that messages are understandable, credible, and use language that resonates with the target audience. Using message testing in the future may help identify specific components or words (e.g., routine, against) within the recommendations that could cause providers, consumers, and advocacy agencies to be confused or concerned."

In an accompanying commentary, Diana B. Petitti, MD, MPH, from Arizona State University and Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, from the Colorado Trust, note that while the USPSTF has played a leadership role in the evidence-based medicine movement, there seems to be "a media bias in favor of mammography screening" which may be due to vested interests in the women's health and breast cancer advocacy groups. They suggest that "further application of qualitative research methods to the data on media coverage of the mammography screening guidelines might yield insights into the kinds of interests that underlay the most negative media accounts about the mammography recommendations. This information might contribute to a better understanding of the sources of negative media responses to evidence and evidence-based recommendations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Linda B. Squiers et al. The Public's Response to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's 2009 Recommendations on Mammography Screening. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 40, Issue 5 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.02.009

Cite This Page:

Elsevier Health Sciences. "Most recent mammography recommendations confuse public, report finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406102201.htm>.
Elsevier Health Sciences. (2011, April 6). Most recent mammography recommendations confuse public, report finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406102201.htm
Elsevier Health Sciences. "Most recent mammography recommendations confuse public, report finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406102201.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins