Surveys of more than 500 women revealed their mammogram-related decisions and experiences. The results showed that Philips Healthcare’s MicroDose mammography system is rated highly by women due to a wealth of significant factors.

Two surveys of women who’d had mammograms on MicroDose systems sought to determine how the women chose a mammography service, as well as their opinion of mammography exams. Both surveys found that healthcare providers most often informed women of the need for mammography and were the most likely source for mammography information. However, women also seek information from the internet and, less frequently, their peers.

It also revealed that, of those who’d had mammograms using different screening systems, the majority found MicroDose the most comfortable as its degree of breast compression was thought to be the least unpleasant.

Survey purpose and methods

A bio-entrepreneurship student at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden, conducted the survey as part of his masters thesis on women’s mammography preferences. The aims of the survey were to investigate the Swedish mammography system market, explore women’s mammography preferences and evaluate MicroDose’s performance based on women’s experiences. The quantitative survey was conducted with 298 women who had just received a screening mammography at Örebro University Hospital, Sweden.

A second survey, conducted at Allison Breast Center in Richmond, US, asked similar questions of 214 women who received a mammography screening at the centre. The purpose of that survey was to better understand the centre’s customers and their satisfaction with the centre’s services.

Reading the results

Of the women surveyed, 90.4% learned of the need for a mammogram through a healthcare provider or screening programme. While a significant majority chose this answer in both surveys, the percentage was considerably higher in Örebro (100% vs 77.1% in Richmond) due to the country’s nationally organised screening programme, which sends all women over the age of 40 a mammogram reminder. The other resources most frequently cited were peers (20.3%) and the media (15.4%).

Among those with a basis for comparison, more than 69% found MicroDose more comfortable than exams on other systems. In the Richmond survey, 78.7% of women surveyed said that MicroDose was more comfortable than other systems they had experienced, while 17.5% said there was no difference, 2.4% said it was less comfortable and 1.4% hadn’t had any previous mammograms.

In the Örebro survey, 30.9% found MicroDose more comfortable, while 24.3% said there was no difference; only 0.7% said it was less comfortable and 44.1% had only experienced MicroDose mammograms.

Among those who found it more comfortable, the reasons cited were:

  • less unpleasant compression (76.1%)
  • shorter examination (53.3%)
  • lower dosage of radiation (33.7%)
  • better design (23.1%)
  • warm breast support (22.4%).

What this means for healthcare providers

The surveys highlights a chance to educate women further about mammography, particularly about different types of screening systems. In addition, it shows that the internet may be an effective vehicle for such education, although word-of-mouth (via healthcare providers and, to a lesser extent, peers) remains the leading sources of information. Furthermore, the results suggest that providers keen to differentiate their services may consider promoting comfort, speed and lower radiation doses