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A Community Peer-Volunteer Telephone Reminder Call to Increase Breast Cancer-Screening Attendance

Guido Goelen

Gerlinde De Clercq

Sophie Hanssens

communication, telephone follow-up, Screening, breast neoplasms
ONF 2010, 37(4), E312-E317. DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E312-E317

Purpose/Objectives: To assess the effect of a tailored telephone reminder call by community peer volunteers on mammography rates in women who do not attend a breast cancer-screening program.

Design: Individual-level randomized trial.

Setting: Four semirural communities in Belgium.

Sample: Women aged 50-69 years who had not had a mammogram.

Methods: Women in the usual care (control) arm received an invitation letter for screening mammography and an information leaflet; women in the intervention arm received usual care as well as a telephone reminder call. The call was tailored on four variables: individual mammography history, mailing of the invitation letter, mammography appointment date, and type of mammography facility in the area (e.g., mobile unit versus fixed site). Community peer volunteers made up to three attempts to call the women in the intervention arm.

Main Research Variables: Mammography rates verified by screening registration review and adverse events identified in contacts with peer volunteers, radiologists, and community workers of local authorities.

Findings: A total of 3,880 women were included in the study and individually randomized into control and intervention groups. Phone numbers were identified for 79% of the women in the intervention group, and 69% were contacted. Twenty-two percent had screening mammography, which was 4% higher than controls (relative risk = 1.22). No adverse effects were identified. An additional mammogram came at an average cost of 17 phone conversations and two hours of volunteer work.

Conclusions: The tested telephone reminder call is suitable for Belgian women.

Implications for Nursing: The telephone reminder call may be implemented in settings similar to the studied context.

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