Survey: Majority of Women Do Not Discuss Breast Cancer Risks or Mammography Screening Limitations with Healthcare Providers

Cambridge, Mass. – May 5, 2015 – sphingotec, LLC, predictive diagnostic tests for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and kidney function, today announced the results of a survey gauging women’s understanding of breast cancer risk factors and their perceptions of common breast cancer screening methods. The survey was conducted in conjunction with a national, independent health information resource for women, and found that of the 464 anonymous respondents, the majority of women do not discuss breast cancer risk factors or the guidelines and limitations of mammography screenings with their healthcare providers.

“Mammograms remain an important screening tool and can save lives by helping detect some cases of breast cancer early, however women are not aware of the limitations of mammography, nor are they aware of their personal risk factors leading to breast cancer, according to the survey,” said Karla Gonye, president, sphingotec, LLC. “The results of the survey give us insight into the market need for breast cancer biomarkers beyond BRCA 1/2 and further indicate the desire for more risk predictive tests so that women and their doctors can make more informed decisions about their risk of breast cancer.”

The top findings from the survey include:

Overwhelmingly, women want to know more about their personal risk for breast cancer, but rarely or never discuss their risk factors with a healthcare provider.

•    Nearly all women (99 percent) expressed interest in understanding their personal risk for breast cancer.
•    However, 65 percent rarely or never discuss their breast cancer risk factors with a healthcare provider, a concerning statistic given that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
•    Those surveyed identified family history (94 percent), use of hormone replacement therapy (73 percent), smoking (64 percent) and age (58 percent) as the top risk factors for breast cancer.

Despite conflicting recommendations around the frequency of mammogram screening and growing evidence that annual screenings can lead to added expense and anxiety due to false-positive results, the majority of women still get annual mammograms.

•    Sixty-four percent of women get a mammogram once a year.
•    Nineteen percent get a mammogram every two to three years.

Given that mammograms miss one in five occurrences of breast cancer1, mammography screenings need to be complemented with new and more affordable prognostic tools for assessing and predicting breast cancer risk.

•    Upon receiving a normal mammogram result, more than half of women (55 percent) believed that they were cancer free, but only 45 percent were aware of the limitations of mammograms in the early detection of breast cancer.
•    Ninety-six percent of women indicated they want a simple and affordable blood test to determine breast cancer risk.

Survey Methodology

This independent survey was conducted online through SurveyMonkey on behalf of sphingotec from April 20 – 23, 2015 among 464 anonymous women living in the United States. Ninety percent of the women surveyed were over the age of 40 and 10 percent were between 20 – 39 years old.

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