Women need better information on routine mammography

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7419.868-c (Published 09 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:868

Women's needs inform contents of screening literature

  1. Julietta Patnick, director (screening{at}westminster.com)
  1. NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Manor House, Sheffield S11 9PS

    EDITOR—Thornton et al think that women need better information about routine mammography.1 We have produced a leaflet, Breast screening the facts, which is designed to ensure women are told what screening can and cannot achieve.2

    It includes an explanation about false positive and false negative results and informs women about the use made of their personal information for audit, as set out in the General Medical Council guidance on confidentiality. Women should therefore be able to make an informed choice based on an understanding about why they are attending for screening, and what happens to their records after being screened.

    The leaflet was extensively researched and tested to ensure that it is easy to understand. It was clear from the research that women wanted the right information at the right time, when it actually meant something to them.

    We accept that some women may want further information, which is why we have included our website address in the leaflets (www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/).

    The leaflet is being kept under constant review and research is under way on its impact on women's understanding of breast screening. The results, and new, relevant information, will be fed into the next edition of the leaflet.

    We are confident that breast screening is saving lives, and we strongly encourage women to accept their invitation for a mammogram, but in the end it is not our choice: it's up to the individual woman.


    • Competing interests None declared


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