Efficacy of a simple, low-cost educational intervention in improving knowledge about risks and benefits of screening mammography

Caroline P. Haakenson, Kristin S. Vickers, Stephen S. Cha, Celine M. Vachon, Jacqueline M. Thielen, Kyle J. Kircher, Sandhya Pruthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of a minimal cost and involvement educational intervention in improving women's knowledge about screening mammography and to explore patient perceptions of the educational intervention. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: During the study period (March 10, 2005, to July 1, 2005), 1446 participants in the Mayo Mammography Health Study scheduled for a mammogram within 4 weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, were randomized to 2 study groups and malled surveys about mammograms. The 2 groups received separate surveys; both surveys contained knowledge-based questions about mammography, but the educational intervention group survey also contained qualitative questions that assessed the educational pamphlets. RESULTS: Of the 668 surveys returned (responders), 248 (34.4%) were from the control group, and 420 (58.3%) were from the intervention group. Approximately 80% of responders had had more than 7 prior mammograms. Significant increases in knowledge about mammography were found in the educational intervention compared with the control group on questions regarding age to begin screening mammography (67.9% vs 54.4%; P<.001), recommended frequency of mammograms (86.4% vs 75.4%; P<.001), overall reduction in mortality due to screening mammography (55.2% vs 8.9%; P<.001), and proportions of women who required follow-up mammograms (35.5% vs 14.9%; P<.001) or biopsy (59.5% vs 13.3%; P<.001). Qualitative data results indicated that most women who received the educational intervention found the pamphlets helpful and informative despite having had many previous mammograms. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that providing women scheduled for screening mammograms with physician-approved educational material before their appointment significantly increases knowledge about screening mammography, risks and benefits, and possible follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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