Health professionals have an obligation to understand women's decision making about mammography and to advocate for their active participation in health care decision making. Although mammography is a major screening measure for the second largest cancer killer of women, only approximately half of women older than age 50 years, and fewer older than age 70 years, undergo mammography in accordance with American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify women's overall decision-making approaches when considering mammography. Subjects were a purposive, convenience sample of 50 women in the community who had made a decision about mammography; they included those who chose to have mammograms and those who decided not to have mammograms according to the pre- 1997 ACS guidelines. Subjects participated in audiotaped interviews. Results indicated that women approached the mammography decision differently, regardless of the decision they made. Three overall decision-making approaches to addressing risk factors, issues about mammography, or other factors before their decision were evident. The approaches were (1) thoughtful consideration; (2) cursory consideration; and (3) lit- tle or no consideration. Each approach has implications for nurses who assist women in making decisions about mammography.
- Patient decision making
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