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Patient comfort from the technologist perspective: factors to consider in mammographic imaging

Authors Mendat CC, Mislan D, Hession-Kunz L

Received 9 December 2016

Accepted for publication 8 March 2017

Published 18 May 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 359—364


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Christina C Mendat,1 Dave Mislan,2 Lisa Hession-Kunz2

1Human Factors MD, Charlotte, NC, 2Hologic Inc., Marlborough, MA, USA

Abstract: A sample size of 280 certified mammography technologists were surveyed to understand what factors affect patient discomfort during breast imaging. Given mammography technologists’ level of patient involvement, they are uniquely positioned to observe factors that affect patient comfort. The findings suggest that according to technologists, multiple factors, including patient ethnicity, breast density, previous biopsy and lumpectomy experience, as well as psychological factors, impact breast discomfort during mammography. Additionally, with respect to imaging protocols, technologists attributed 80% of moderate-to-extreme discomfort to “length of compression time” (27%) and “compression force” (53%). Technologists also attributed “pinching at chest wall” and “hard edges of breast platform” to “very high” discomfort significantly more times (P<0.05) than “coolness and edges of paddle”. These findings confirm some of what has been reported to date and challenge other findings. Given that recent decline in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment, approaches to reduce discomfort should be considered in order to promote screening compliance. Although more research is needed, it is apparent that the patient experience of comfort and pain during mammography is an area warranting increased research and solutions.

Keywords: mammography, discomfort, pain, density, compliance, breast

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