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Why is it irresponsible to offer women incentives to take mammograms?

I have just read a tweet about incentives being offered to women to take Mammograms in the US.  These “mammogram parties” will offer incentives such as chocolate fondue, massages and beauty consultations, wine, cheese, roses and weekend spa-getaway packages.  It’s caused quite an uproar apparently with the media claiming that it downplays the seriousness of mammograms.

I disagree, this is not a nice test for a woman to take, hell when is a medical test ever a pleasure for either sex but as the national target in the UK for breast screening  is only 70% I feel any incentive to get women to screen for cancer is good.  This can be a negative, worrying test for some and I think anything that livens this up and makes you feel better can’t be viewed as irresponsible.

The Chicago Tribune also states that why these incentives are irresponsible is that misdiagnosis is also part of this test.  I fail to see what this has to do with creating a positive, pampered atmosphere to what could be a prelude to extremely bad news, why can’t we make this process, a process that can be eased into, rather than hit in the face with a sack of spuds. Cancer Survival rates are also based on mindset AND CATCHING IT EARLY.  Also figures show that mammograms saved twice as many lives as they over diagnosed so anything that can get women in to breast screenings is a good idea in my books.

According to Cancer Research UK in 2008 one-third of all women in the UK were ignoring breast screening invitations, also there is still a large problem with breast screening in deprived areas in the UK.  This could be down to education, lack of time, not wanting to know and due to the age of women screened not really wanting to go into a room with strangers half nude.  Doesn’t it therefore make sense to have some pampering and to associate the staff providing these incentives with the  strangers in the room where you are half-naked.

Chocolate Fondue?  Food for thought……


Michelle Petersen View All

Michelle is a health industry veteran who taught and worked in the field before training as a science journalist.

Featured by numerous prestigious brands and publishers, she specializes in clinical trial innovation--expertise she gained while working in multiple positions within the private sector, the NHS, and Oxford University.

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