Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Acknowledge: we would like to thank Isabel (Bachelor's degree on Artificial Intelligence, Vrije Universiteit), our interim research assistant, for the data collection.
According to World Health Organization sources, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer worldwide. However, many women skip their mammogram appointment, leading to detect breast cancer in late stages. That was the goal of The Blue Box, to be able to offer all women the possibility of being self-tested from home and without pain.
We surveyed women around the world to find out how they experience current screening tests. The survey had more than 200 answers. Women from Spain (52%), Netherlands (33%), America, Australia, and other European countries participated in this study. Ages vary between 18 and 75, with 44.6% of the participants under 45 years and 54.4% of 45 years and older.
Regarding cancer detection, 27.3% of participants had never received a screening test. Of the remaining 72.7%, who had received at least one test, 20.2% obtained a positive result.
Mammography is a test which women are not invited to before they are 45 or, in most countries, even 50. Nevertheless, 67.5% of those who had breast cancer were under 50 years. However, 70.6% of the respondents of our survey requested a screening before they reached the age of 50.
Furthermore, 46% of women do not attend their annual appointment due to pain during the screening test.
Most women are concerned about breast cancer and see the need to detect it in the early stages. Thereby, 81.8% of the participants said they would use a self-test like The Blue Box, 18.18% answered maybe, and only 0.02% responded that they would not use it.
Finally, 23.3% would choose to take the self-test more than twice a year, 53% once a year, and the remaining 23.7% would use it less than once a year.
From the results, we can conclude that breast cancer concerns adult women worldwide. One of the main problems we face is that mammograms are not performed on young women. Not only do healthcare organizations suggest starting screening earlier, our survey shows that women also claim they want to start screening from a younger age. Another problem is that many women skip their annual tests due to pain or incompatibility with their schedules, leading to late detections. Early diagnosis improves the survival chance and allows for more effective treatment options. Screening programs using mammography are costly and not risk-free and are therefore not ideal for freqüent testing. A self-test is a highly efficient and effective way to enable early detection and provide women a chance to be in control of their breast cancer screening.