Malvern, Pa., Sept. 25, 2019 -- Siemens Healthineers and HealthyWomen, the nation's leading independent, nonprofit health information source for women, today announced results from a new national survey designed to deepen understanding on how to improve women's experiences with screening mammograms for breast cancer detection. The survey, which included responses from women over age 40 (all of whom fall under the recommended screening guidelines), revealed that while 61 percent of women said mammograms are necessary, 52 percent found them uncomfortable and 25 percent regarded them as painful.
The American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging both recommend that women begin receiving annual mammograms at 40. The only test shown to reduce breast cancer deaths, mammograms allow for early disease detection, which greatly improves the odds of survival and can help a patient diagnosed with breast cancer avoid more extensive treatment.
The survey, which was commissioned by Siemens Healthineers and conducted by HealthyWomen, featured responses from 1,194 women 40 and older regarding their experiences with and perceptions of mammograms.
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The survey findings revealed:
Comfort is a resonating factor and is key to encouraging women to continue mammograms as recommended: Of the 124 women who stopped receiving mammograms on an annual or biannual basis (about 10 percent of respondents), 32 percent cited unpleasant and/or painful past experiences as a deterrent.
Nearly 1 in 6 women report that discomfort has deterred them from getting a mammogram as recommended: 12 percent of women reported postponing a mammogram due to discomfort, and 3 percent said they would not get them anymore because of it.
Most women are not aware of patient comfort options on mammography systems but would seek out medical practices offering more comfortable experiences: 54 percent of women said that they would be highly motivated to receive regular mammograms if they knew that some medical practices provide a more comfortable/tailored mammogram experience. 49 percent said they would be very likely to seek out practices offering more comfortable/tailored mammogram experiences.
Beyond discomfort-related concerns, radiation is also a worry for women: Of the 169 women who have not had a mammogram, nearly 16 percent reported worries about radiation as the reason.
"The mammogram experience is often associated with discomfort and pain, which has been a top deterrent for women from obtaining these important screenings. This cannot continue, as mammograms play a critical role in early breast cancer detection," said Pam Cumming, Director of Women's Health, Siemens Healthineers North America. "This is why Siemens Healthineers offers solutions to customers such as the MAMMOMAT Revelation to help make the mammography experience more comfortable and tailored for individual patient care. System features include personalized compression, soft paddles, low radiation doses, and even mood lighting – all designed to help improve the patient experience."