Australian women’s responses to breast density information: A content analysis


Breast density (BD) is an independent risk factor for breast cancer and reduces mammographic sensitivity. This study explored women’s responses and intentions if notified that they had dense breasts. Methods: Content analysis was used to assess responses from a written questionnaire undertaken in conjunction with focus groups on BD involving 78 Australian women aged 40–74. Results: Half the women reported that they would feel a little anxious if notified they had dense breasts, while 29.5% would not feel anxious. The most common theme (29.5%) related to anxiety was the psychosocial impact of the possibility of developing cancer, and women believed that being better informed could help with anxiety (26.9%). When asked what they would do if notified of having dense breasts, the most common response was to consult their doctor for information/advice (38.5%), followed by considering supplemental screening (23%). Consequently, when asked directly, 65.4% were interested in undergoing supplemental screening, while others (10.3%) said they “wouldn’t worry about it too much”. Discussion: These findings have important implications for health systems with population-based breast screening programs that are currently considering widespread BD notification in terms of the impact on women, health services and primary care.


breast density, mammography, communication, women’s health

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library