BCSC Blog

BCSC Researchers Learn What Women Know–and Don’t Know–About Breast Density and Cancer Risk

New qualitative findings from the BCSC suggest that women have varying knowledge about breast density and a strong desire to learn more.

Posted by Karen Schifferdecker, PhD, MPH at 1:37 PM on Sep 26, 2019

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A new BCSC qualitative study published December 2, 2019 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that women across three states had varying knowledge about breast density and a strong desire to learn more. Breast density is an important risk factor for breast cancer but no study had asked women what they know or think about breast density in relation to screening they have had. A number of states do have notification laws about breast density, but these laws vary. Led by Dr. Schifferdecker and including patient research partners, the study described in “Knowledge and Perception of Breast Density, Screening Mammography, and Supplemental Screening: in Search of ‘Informed’” explored women’s knowledge and perceptions of breast density and experiences of breast cancer screening across three states with and without notification laws. The study, which only included women with dense breasts, found that women from all states had varying knowledge about their own breast density and breast density in general. A number of women were aware of the difficulty of detecting cancer with dense breasts, but only one woman knew that density increased breast cancer risk. Additionally, the researchers found that very few women received information about breast density during healthcare visits although some were encouraged to get supplemental imaging or to pay for new types of mammography such as breast tomosynthesis, but not given much information about this imaging. The article provides recommendations for research to understand how the medical community can better assist women in making informed decisions related to breast density and screening.

Full Text Citation and Link: Schifferdecker, K.E., Tosteson, A.N.A., Kaplan, C. et al. Knowledge and Perception of Breast Density, Screening Mammography, and Supplemental Screening: in Search of “Informed”. J GEN INTERN MED (2019) doi:10.1007/s11606-019-05560-z. [Link to Article]

These findings have been covered by the following media outlets:

Yahoo News: https://news.yahoo.com/women-not-sufficiently-informed-breast-density-092541277.html

EurekAlert: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/dmc-slw122319.php

Tech Explorist: https://www.techexplorist.com/exploring-women-knowledge-breast-density-and-experiences-breast-cancer-screening/28726/

ANI News: https://www.aninews.in/news/health/study-explores-womens-knowledge-about-breast-density-and-cancer-risk20191224111258/


Posted by: Karen Schifferdecker, PhD, MPH