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Most recent mammography recommendations confuse public
Date:4/6/2011

he announcement, both of which shape public perceptions of and opinions about new information and topics. In addition, they surveyed 1,221 women for two months beginning one month after the announcement.

From 233 newspaper articles, blog posts, and tweets analyzed, 51.9% were unsupportive, and only 17.6% were supportive. Most newspaper articles and blog posts expressed negative sentiment (55.0% and 66.2%, respectively), whereas tweets were predominantly neutral (48.8%). The most common reasons mentioned for being unsupportive of the new recommendations were the belief that delaying screening would lead to later detection of more advanced breast cancer and subsequently more breast cancerrelated deaths (22.5%) and the belief that the recommendations reflected government rationing of healthcare (21.9%).

In the web-based survey, the majority of respondents reported paying attention to the recommendations and those who paid more attention understood better the reasons for the controversy. However, despite the media flurry, only 20.3% of women aged 40-49 years and 23.4% of all women in the sample correctly identified the mammography recommendation for women aged 40󈞝 years. Overall, the new recommendations confused women more than they helped them understand when to get a mammogram. Women aged 40-49 years were significantly more likely to be confused about when they should get a mammogram than the older age group.

"The USPSTF plays a vital role in reviewing the latest scientific evidence and advising providers and consumers about prevention," concluded Squiers and her co-investigators. "For recommendations to be accepted by both groups, they first must be understood. In the field of health communication, message testing with individuals is frequently used to ensure that messages are understandable, credible, and use language that resonates with the target audience. Using message testing in the future may help identify specific components
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Contact: AJPM Editorial Office
eAJPM@ucsd.edu
858-534-9340
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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