There’s no understating the value of a mammography screening. These tests are an invaluable tool in identifying breast cancer and saving lives, yet many women are still hesitant to attend their annual screenings. It falls on doctors to help educate and communicate the importance of an annual mammography. By addressing patient fears and concerns, you can create better awareness of the situation and lead more women to a potentially life-saving exam. Here are three tips for overcoming patient avoidance of mammography screenings.

Understand the Hesitancy

To eliminate patients’ hesitancy, you must first understand why they’re avoiding the exam. While every woman has her own reasons for putting off her mammography, there are a few reasons that appear again and again. These include fear of a painful exam, fear of the unknown if they are new to the process, misconceptions surrounding the use of radiation, and fear of the results they may receive from their mammogram. When you can pinpoint the source of your patients’ unease, you can address and alleviate their concerns more effectively.

Debunk Myths Through Education

Many of these common fears come from myths or other forms of false information. Medical practices can be a reliable source of information regarding these misconceptions. Educate your patients on how the exam works and why it’s important. Include this information whenever you send letters reminding patients of their annual exams. You can also host an open house or regular Q&A session for women who want to learn more about the exam. Widespread and accessible information makes it easier for patients, both new and old, to learn more about the facts of mammograms.

Strive to Accommodate

In addition to patient education, one of the biggest tips for overcoming patient avoidance of mammography screenings is accommodation. Make it as easy as possible for patients to schedule appointments, comfortably complete their exams, and receive their results in a timely manner. Evening or weekend hours help accommodate women with busy or irregular schedules. Online appointment availability can also make it easier for women to take that first step in scheduling their exam. Your clinic itself should be as welcoming, comfortable, and efficient as possible. Pleasant staff, a calm waiting room environment, and high-quality mammography chairs and other equipment work to create a more comfortable experience for your patients. This also encourages patients to refer friends and family members to your clinic and come back for their mammography the following year.