Researchers identify misperceptions surrounding breast density across race/ethnicity and health literacy levels —

Having dense breasts (extra fibroglandular tissue than fatty tissue, as visualized on a mammogram) reduces the sensitivity of mammography by masking breast cancers and carries a 1.6- to 2.0-fold elevated impartial threat for breast most cancers. To tell ladies about these dangers, 38 U.S. states and the federal authorities have enacted laws requiring a written dense breast notification (DBN) of a affected person’s breast density after a mammogram, however there nonetheless is restricted proof about what breast density means, and what the implications are, to ladies.

In line with a brand new examine, whereas ladies are receiving these notifications about their breast density, not all recipients are absolutely understanding what they imply by way of future well being implications. Boston College Faculty of Medication researchers counsel that information about breast density and its related dangers is partly linked to ladies’s race/ethnicity and well being literacy.

“Our findings, along with prior stories counsel that DBNs alone are usually not adequately educating ladies, counsel that growth of future notifications warrants additional refinement and testing,” says corresponding writer Nancy Kressin, PhD, professor of drugs at BUSM.

To evaluate ladies’s information about breast density after receiving a notification, the researchers carried out a phone survey and interviews amongst a racially/ethnically and well being literacy stage various pattern. Though most ladies responded accurately that breast density is said to the quantity of fatty versus connective tissue, the researchers noticed important variations by ladies’s race/ ethnicity, whereby Non-Hispanic White ladies had been much less prone to reply accurately than Non-Hispanic Black ladies.

Solely 47 p.c of ladies accurately indicated that having dense breasts will increase one’s threat of breast most cancers; ladies with low well being literacy had been extra usually right. Fifty-eight p.c of ladies accurately indicated that breast density shouldn’t be associated to the touch, with increased accuracy amongst non-Hispanic white ladies and people with better well being literacy. Eighty-seven p.c of ladies acknowledged that breast density is recognized visually by way of mammogram, with no important variations in responses by race/ethnicity or well being literacy.

Qualitative outcomes revealed extra dimensions of understanding: Some ladies incorrectly reported that density could possibly be felt, or dense breasts had been lumpier, thicker, or extra compacted; others recognized ”dense” tissue as fatty. Interpretations of threat included that breast density was an early type of breast most cancers.

“The final word aim of DBNs is to teach ladies about breast density, to information their future choices about breast most cancers screening. Thus, in-depth characterization of ladies’s information after receiving a DBN may help make sure that future well being communications are accessible and comprehensible to all recipients,” provides Kressin.

These findings seem on-line within the Journal of Girls’s Well being.

Funding for this examine was supplied by a grant from the American Most cancers Society (133017-RSG-19-085-01-CPHPS); C.M.G. was additionally supported by the Nationwide Most cancers Institute (1K07CA221899).

P.J.S., Co-author on an UpToDate article on Breast density and screening for breast most cancers, for which she receives royalties.

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