Attenders and non-attenders at a breast screening clinic: a comparative study
Review articleOpen access

As part of the trial for assessing the value of breast screening, all women in the Edinburgh area who became eligible for screening over a nine-month period were sent a standard questionnaire of perceived health status. Results were analysed in the light of subsequent attendance or non-attendance at the clinic. Of those women who replied to the questionnaire, attenders at the clinic, those who did not respond to the questionnaire and those who declined the questionnaire were found to have a similar perceived health status, close to the population norm for this age and sex; those who accepted the invitation but failed to attend reported more health problems overall and these were statistically significant for emotional distress, social isolation and sleep problems. These differences were independent of postal code sector. It is suggested that more attention be paid to the heterogeneity of non-attenders for screening and the social and emotional context within which an invitation for screening is received and accepted.

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