IMAJ | volume
Journal 8, August 2001
Background: Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies in women, yet one of the most treatable. Early detection is essential to obtain the desired remission and longevity. Numerous studies have shown that periodic screening for breast cancer can reduce mortality by 20-30%.
Objective: To assess the rates, compliance, characteristics as well as barriers in women regarding mammography screening.
Methods: The study group comprised a random sample of 702 women aged 50 or older from 5914 eligible women in two teaching clinics in southern Israel. Phone interviews using structured questionnaires were conducted.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 61 years. The vast majority of the women were not born in Israel. Sixty-three percent of the women had undergone a mammography screening, 48% in the past 2 years. Monthly self-breast examinations were performed by 12% of the women in the last 2 years. Significant factors associated with undergoing mammography were: more than 7 years since immigration, married, a higher education level, adequate knowledge about breast cancer and mammography, presence of past or current cancer, and cancer in relatives. The main reasons for not being screened was no referral (54%) and a lack of knowledge about breast cancer and mammography (19%) - conditions easily remedied by physician counseling.
Conclusion: The study suggests that promotional efforts should be concentrated on new immigrants and on less educated and unmarried women.