Breast radiologist-provided direct public lectures may decrease anxiety and improve knowledge regarding breast cancer screening mammography, a new study published online ahead of print in the Journal of the American College of Radiology has shown.1

Because anxiety has been called a barrier to breast cancer screening mammography, researchers sought to evaluate whether a direct, interactive education to lay audience would impact anxiety and understanding of breast cancer screening.

Researchers conducted 7 1-hour sessions of structured lectures and question-and-answer periods provided by academic breast radiologists to 117 participants.

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“Our question was, if the ACS—and before them the US Preventive Task Force—considered anxiety a harm that could prevent screening, how could we minimize that harm,” Lara Hardesty, MD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and associate professor of Radiology-Diagnostics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said.

Results showed that after the lecture, women reported improved understanding of the topic, decreased anxiety, and were more encouraged to undergo screening.

“Our intention was to teach women what to expect from having a mammogram done and what to expect if you are called back for further testing. This happens to 10 percent of women, and we wanted them to know that a positive screening mammogram doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer,” Hardesty said.


  1. Lee J, Hardesty LA, Kunzler NM, Rosenkrantz AB, et al. Direct interactive public education by breast radiologists about screening mammography: impact on anxiety and empowerment [published online ahead of print October 18, 2015]. J Am Coll Radiol. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2015.07.018.