Postmenopausal Women Less Concerned About Breast Cancer Than Younger Women

August 1, 2006
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 20 No 9, Volume 20, Issue 9

Women most at risk for developing breast cancer were the least likely to realize it according to a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Women most at risk for developing breast cancer were the least likely to realize it according to a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive. Being over age 50 places a woman at an increased risk for developing breast cancer. Yet, only 37% of women aged 55 or older listed breast cancer as a disease they were most concerned about as they age.

Survey Results

The survey, which polled 1,158 US women aged 35 and older, revealed that women did not identify age as a primary risk factor for breast cancer. Specifically, the survey showed:

• More women (71%) ranked family history as an "extremely" or "very" important risk factor for breast cancer compared to increasing age (36%), when in fact only 15% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family member with the disease.

• 75% of women surveyed did not recognize that being over age 50 presents the greatest risk for developing breast cancer.

• Only 37% of women aged 55 and older listed breast cancer as a disease they were most concerned about as they age.

• One-third (33%) of women mistakenly believe that the importance of a regular mammogram decreases with age. Approximately 23% indicated they believe that the age at which the importance of getting a mammogram starts to decrease is at some point after age 60.

• More than one-third of women (35%) indicated they got most of their health information from a family physician, with the Internet being ranked second (18%), the news media third (17%) and an obstetrician/gynecologist fourth (16%).

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health and Eli Lilly and Company between January 17 to 19, 2006 among 1,158 US adult women aged 35 and older, of whom 979 have had a mammogram. Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 1,158 US adult women one could say with a 95% probability that the overall results have a sampling error of ± 5%. Sampling error for various subsamples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Complete results of the Harris Interactive survey are available online at www.strengthinknowing.com, www.harrisinteractive.com, or upon request.