• Vol. 27 No. 2, 154–160
  • 15 March 1998

Population-based Mammographic Screening in Singapore: What are Participants’ Views?



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Mammographic screening for breast cancer has been shown to be an effective tool for reducing mortality from the disease in many studies in the West, if high technical quality and acceptance by the target population are achieved. The objective of the Singapore Breast Screening Project was to determine if the same results could be obtained among local women by inviting a random sample of 69 500 women aged 50 to 64 years for a screening mammogram over two years. To date, the compliance rate among the women invited has been 41.7%. The objective of the present substudy was to determine participants’ views on the accessibility and acceptability of organised mammographic screening. Of the three hundred women interviewed, 85% were satisfied with the information given prior to the visit, while 67% needed to change the original appointment given. The majority were satisfied with aspects of the visit such as waiting time, privacy and explanation given during the test. However, 35.1% reported at least moderate discomfort during mammography. A substantial proportion (39.7%) of attenders felt that there was very little hope of cure even if cancer was detected early. When asked the most important reason for attending, most indicated they had taken the opportunity for a free check-up to be assured they were well. Almost all (95.7%) reported a willingness to be screened again, but most would not be willing to pay for a mammogram at the current rates.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore and has been increasing in incidence since 1968. This rise is particularly marked among younger women, suggesting that the increase will take place at an even faster rate in future.

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