Minimizing the Fear Factor of Breast Screenings

    Minimizing the Fear Factor of Breast Screenings

    10/22/2019

    Never underestimate the power of fear—especially when it comes to health. For many women, that fear may prevent them from scheduling regular mammograms or follow-up screenings. One way you can help alleviate their fears is to educate them about breast health and screening tests.

    We talk so much about our maternity and mother-baby content, but did you know we also offer breast health and (soon-to-be updated) radiology education? Breast health issues can be particularly frightening for women. Most people know at least one woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The outcome of that person’s cancer treatment can greatly affect how fearful a woman is about her own prospects, were she to be diagnosed. 

    Sometimes it seems easiest to just stick our heads in the sand and hope that everything is fine and stays that way. But cancer found in the early stages has a five-year survival rate of 98%, so it’s a better plan to schedule regular mammograms.

    “Unfortunately, if a woman receives news of an abnormality that needs further testing, it can negatively affect her psyche—even if it turns out to be a false positive. Follow-up biopsies find that 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. That still leaves a 20% chance of cancer, though, and any chance is enough to cause stress and anxiety.”

    So given news that they need a biopsy, most patients react with fear. Just the word “biopsy” conjures up thoughts of giant needles and a painful procedure, if one doesn’t really understand what the test entails. Receiving news of an abnormal mammogram by letter is especially nerve-wracking. With no one available in the moment to answer their questions or assure them that many suspect lumps are benign, it’s easy to fall into a tailspin.

    Providing your patients with medically accurate materials to take with them when you discuss the importance of mammograms gives you the opportunity to address their top-of-mind questions. Plus, you give them a resource to have on hand that will increase their understanding of breast cancer and different testing types if they do need further screening. Patient-friendly language with helpful illustrations and photographs make this somewhat intimidating information accessible to patients.

    You can offer specific information on dense breast tissue, different biopsy types, breast MRIs or mammograms. There is also a booklet about breast care that encompasses overall breast health topics including breast cancer risk, advances in digital mammography, breast cancer treatment, and how a healthy lifestyle can help to lower the risk of breast cancer.

    By giving your patients this knowledge in advance, you are giving women the power to take control of their health with less fear and anxiety. Just having materials that answer their questions and address their fears can give patients a sense of comfort and confidence. CCI is here to help you empower women with every product we create.