An investigation into the effect of extending routine mammographic screening to older women in the United Kingdom on the time it takes to screen
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Objective: To compare the time it takes to screen women aged 65-69 with women age 50-64. Setting: Screening centres participating in the Department of Health funded demonstration study of extending breast screening to women aged 65-69. Methods: Consecutive women of all ages were timed during November 1999 to February 2000, until about 50 women aged 65-69 had been screened at each of the sites. For each woman screened, her age, whether she had been screened before, the times when she checked in, started to get undressed, started screening, finished screening, and when she left the screening unit were recorded. The radiographers also recorded any difficulties associated with screening any of the women in the survey. Results: The total mean time spent at the centres and the time being screened was not significantly different between the two age groups overall or within each of the demonstration sites (p>0.05). The distribution of screen time was similar between the age groups within each of the sites. The proportion of screens reported as difficult by the radiographers differed between sites, with two out of the three sites reporting more problems screening older women. Conclusions: Despite some radiographers reporting more difficulties associated with screening older women, screening a woman aged 65-69 was found, on average, to take no longer than screening a women aged 50-64 years. Thus, when the NHS breast screening programme is extended to include older women, the some time interval for an appointment can be scheduled regardless of the woman age.
Cancer Screening Evaluation Unit (DoH)
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JOURNAL OF MEDICAL SCREENING, 2002, 9 pp. 15 - 19