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Text messages boost breast cancer screening attendance

Women who receive a text message reminding them about their breast cancer screening appointment are over 20 percent more likely to attend than those who are not texted, according to a new study.

London: Women who receive a text message reminding them about their breast cancer screening appointment are over 20 percent more likely to attend than those who are not texted, according to a new study.

Researchers trialled text message reminders for women aged 47-53 years old who were invited for their first appointment for breast cancer screening.

The team compared around 450 women who were sent a text with 435 women who were not texted. Researchers found that 72 percent of women who were sent a text message reminder attended their screening appointment, compared with 60 percent who were not.

Text message reminders had the biggest impact on women from the most deprived areas who were 28 per cent more likely to attend their first screening appointment if they were sent a text.

The research found that women were almost three times more likely to cancel their appointment in advance if they were sent a text message reminder.

"We all forget things now and then, and doctor's appointments are no exception - in fact, forgetting is one of the most commonly cited reasons why women miss breast cancer screening appointments," said lead author, Robert Kerrison at the Cancer Research UK health behaviour unit at University College London.

"Our research found that a cheap, simple text-message- reminder could boost the number of women - especially those from deprived areas - attending screening, or cancelling in advance," Kerrison said.

The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.

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