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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Women in Their 40s Want Mammograms: Poll

May 4, 2011

NORWALK, Conn., May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A U.S. health task force stunned much of the medical world and many women in November 2009 by recommending that most women didn’t need to get their first mammogram until age 50.

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But a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds that women in their 40s want their mammograms, and two-thirds of them weren’t even aware of the task force’s recommendations.

About 57 percent of women surveyed believe mammograms should start at age 40, according to the poll of 1,083 U.S. women over 18 years of age conducted April 18-20, while just 12 percent thought that 50 was the right age to start getting the imaging tests.

“Breast cancer is something women are taught to look for at an early age through monthly self-exams, and the magic age of 40 had been when the first mammogram was supposed to happen,” said Regina A. Corso, senior vice president of public relations and youth research for the Harris Poll. “That obviously goes against recommendations that have recently come out, and which almost half of women [polled] believe are there because these experts are mainly interested in saving money by reducing health-care costs.”

Specifically, 45 percent of the women polled said the task force pushed back the recommended age to 50 to reduce health-care costs and avoid administering unnecessary tests, while 30 percent believe the task force made the recommendation because excessive tests produced too many so-called false-positive results, leading women to unnecessarily think they had cancer when they did not.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) bucked long-standing advice 17 months ago that yearly mammograms should start for women when they turn 40. The task force said mammograms for women in their 40s led to too many false-positives, unnecessary worry and biopsies, and relatively few lives saved.

Instead, the task force recommended routine mammograms every two years for women ages 50 to 74. Women in their 40s were advised to discuss their breast cancer risk factors with their doctors and make a personal decision about whether to get screened or not.

Despite widespread news coverage of the task force recommendations, the new poll found that 66 percent of women in their 40s hadn’t even heard about the recommendations. And 72 percent of women in their 40s disagreed with the new recommendations after being told about them.

The new recommendations aside, many women in their 40s are still getting mammograms — 77 percent of women in their 40s have already had at least one mammogram, while 64 percent reported getting one annually, the poll found.

The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual mammograms for women starting at age 40.

More information

Read the USPSTF guidelines here.

The poll included 1,083 U.S. adult women were surveyed online between April 18-20, by Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.

The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here. HealthDay’s news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.

About HealthDay

HealthDay, a division of Scout News LLC, is a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news for consumers and physicians and is the largest syndicator of that news to Internet sites. Its consumer health news service (www.healthday.com) appears on more than 5,000 Web sites such as Yahoo!, MSN, iVillage, US News & World Report, Everyday Health, RightHealth, RealAge, Healthfinder.gov, MedlinePlus, hundreds of hospitals and hospital group Web sites, as well as print publication Web sites across the country. HealthDay also produces Physician’s Briefing (www.physiciansbriefing.com), a news service for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals updated twice daily providing 15 articles a day across 32 medical specialties. HealthDay also provides custom content for major health portals. The newest addition to the HealthDay portfolio is HealthDay TV — a 90-second news broadcast of essential health information that appears on several major media Web sites, U.S. government Web sites and other health information sites.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

HealthDay Contact
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                                 TABLE 1
                          EVER HAD A MAMMOGRAM
                    "Have you ever had a mammogram?"

    Base:  All Adult Women
                                      Less than
                                       40 Years    40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                           Total          Old          Old          Older
                            (%)
    Yes                          60           14            77           93
    No                           40           86            23            7

                                 TABLE 2
                         FREQUENCY OF MAMMOGRAMS
            "Approximately how often do you have mammograms?"

    Base:   Adult women who have ever had a mammogram
                                         Less than
                                 Total       40      40-49 Years  Age 50 or
                                  (%)   Years Old       Old        Older
    Once every five years or
     less often                     15           37            9         14
    Once every three or four
     years                           9           28            9          7
    At least once every other
     year (Net)                     72           25           79         75
        Every other year            14           10           15         14
        Once a year                 57           15           64         61
        More often than  once a
         year                      *              0       *           *
    Not Sure                         4           10            2          4

    Note: "*" represents less than 1%.
    Note:   Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

                                  TABLE 3
                    OPINIONS ON FREQUENCY OF MAMMOGRAMS
    "How often do you think women of your age, who have no special risk
      factors for breast cancer should have a mammogram to check for
                              breast cancer?"

    Base:   All Adult Women
                                        Less than
                                Total       40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                                 (%)   Years Old       Old         Older
    Never                           5            9            2            2
    Once every five years or
     less often                    15           26            6            8
    Once every three or four
     years                         14           16           12           12
    At least once every other
     year (Net)                    58           31           74           74
        Every other year           18           16           21           18
        Once a year                39           15           50           56
        More often than once a
         year                       1            0            4       *
    Not Sure                        9           17            6            4

    Note: "*" represents less than 1%.
    Note:   Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

                                    TABLE 4
                        AGE TO START HAVING MAMMOGRAMS
    "At what age do you think that women with no special risk factors for
                breast cancer should start having mammograms?"

    Base:   All Adult Women
                              Less than
                      Total       40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                       (%)   Years Old       Old         Older
    29 years old or
     younger             11           13            3           13
    Age 30               13           15            8           14
    Age 35               16           22           14           11
    Age 40               32           28           48           29
    Age 45                9            7           12            9
    Age 50                8            4            5           12
    Age 55                1            1            1            1
    Age 60              *              0            1       *
    Age 65                0            0            0            0
    70 years or
     older              *              0            0       *
    Never                 1            1            1            2
    Not sure              9            8            8            9

    Note: "*" represents less than 1%.
    Note:   Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

                                  TABLE 5
         SEEN, HEARD OR READ ABOUT AGE TO START HAVING MAMMOGRAMS
    "Have you seen, heard or read anything that made recommendations
    regarding the age at which women with no special risk factors for
              breast cancer should start having mammograms?"

    Base:  All Adult Women
                           Less than
                Total          40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                 (%)      Years Old       Old         Older
    Yes               38           33           34           43
    No                62           67           66           57

                                  TABLE 6
            ARE RECOMMENDATIONS EASY TO UNDERSTAND OR CONFUSING
    "Do you find that the recommendations you have seen, read or heard
             were easy to understand or were they confusing?"

    Base:  Seen, heard or read anything
                                      Less than
                           Total          40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                            (%)      Years Old       Old         Older
    Easy to understand           71           75           70           68
    Confusing                    29           25           30           32

                                  TABLE 7
       AGREEMENT WITH EXPERT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AGE TO START HAVING
                                MAMMOGRAMS
    "Some experts say that most women with no special risk factors for
    breast cancer should start having mammograms at age 40; others say
              they should start at age 50. Which do you think
    is the appropriate age for most women to start having mammograms?"

    Base:  All Adult Women
                          Less than
                  Total       40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                   (%)   Years Old       Old         Older
    Age 40           57           57           72           52
    Age 50           12            9            8           17
    Some other
     age             17           17           13           19
    Not sure         13           17            8           12

                                  TABLE 8
    REASONS FOR CHANGE IN EXPERT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AGE TO START HAVING
                                 MAMMOGRAMS
    "For many years, guidelines have recommended starting mammograms for
      those with no special risk factors for breast cancer at age 40.
    Recently experts have changed this to age 50. Which of the following
        do you think are among the main reasons why some experts say
      mammograms should start at age 50, not age 40? Please select all
                                that apply."

    Base:  All Adult Women
                                         Less than
                                 Total       40      40-49 Years   Age 50 or
                                  (%)   Years Old       Old         Older
    They are mainly interested
     saving money by reducing
     healthcare costs and not
     administering unnecessary
     tests                          45           42           47           47
    They think that excessive
     tests may lead to false
     positives and that women
     may be led to
     unnecessarily believe they
     have cancer when in fact
     they do not                    30           30           27           30
    They think there is very
     little benefit, and
     significant risk, to start
     at age 40                      28           29           30           27
    None of these                   18           26           16           12

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States April 18 to 20, 2011 among 1,083 adult females (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Full data available at www.harrisinteractive.com

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

SOURCE Harris Interactive


Source: newswire