Investigating young women's motivations to engage in early mammography screening in Switzerland: Results of a cross-sectional study

Nanon H.M. Labrie, Ramona Ludolph, Peter J. Schulz

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11 Scopus citations


Background: The scientific and public debate concerning organized mammography screening is unprecedentedly strong. With research evidence concerning its efficacy being ambiguous, the recommendations pertaining to the age-thresholds for program inclusion vary between - and even within - countries. Data shows that young women who are not yet eligible for systematic screening, have opportunistic mammograms relatively often and, moreover, want to be included in organized programs. Yet, to date, little is known about the precise motivations underlying young women's desire and intentions to go for, not medically indicated, mammographic screening. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was carried out among women aged 30-49 years (n = 918) from Switzerland. Results: The findings show that high fear (β = 08, p ≤ 05), perceived susceptibility (β = 10, p ≤ 05), and ego-involvement (β = 34, p ≤ 001) are the main predictors of screening intentions among women who are not yet eligible for the systematic program. Also, geographical location (Swiss-French group: β = 15, p ≤ 001; Swiss-Italian group: β = 26, p ≤ 001) and age (β = 11, p ≤ 001) play a role. In turn, breast cancer knowledge, risk perceptions, and educational status do not have a significant impact. Conclusions: Young women seem to differ inherently from those who are already eligible for systematic screening in terms of the factors underlying their intentions to engage in mammographic screening. Thus, when striving to promote adherence to systematic screening guidelines - whether based on unequivocal scientific evidence or policy decisions - and to allow women to make evidence-based, informed decisions about mammography, differential strategies are needed to reach different age-groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study has been funded by a project grant awarded to Peter Schulz by the Swiss National Science Foundation (100019-153131/1). The funding body did not play a role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Prior to filling out the survey, participants were informed that the study was aimed at improving the understanding of women’s views on and concerns about breast cancer and organized mammographic screening programs. Moreover, they were notified that the study had been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and that the protocol had been reviewed and, where applicable, approved by the relevant ethical committees (Swiss Ethics Committee for research involving humans; Institutional Research Board of the University of Lugano). As approved by the ethics committees and following standard practice of the surveying partner, all participants provided informed consent within the on-line surveying tool and selected their preferred surveying language (French, German, or Italian) by clicking ‘next’. The survey took approximately 30 min to complete and had to be filled out in one sitting.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • Breast cancer
  • Ego-involvement
  • Fear
  • Knowledge
  • Mammography screening
  • Risk perceptions
  • Switzerland
  • Women aged 30-49


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