The Trick to Remembering When You Are Due For A Mammogram

It’s once-a-year, so why can’t we remember?

by Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn
Photograph: Photo by: Jason Donnelly

Even though mammogram and colonoscopy are two of the most effective cancer-catching tools available, many people don’t get tested. Now, new research shows that if you’ve not been consistent about appointments, it may help to schedule them at certain times of the year.

According to a study in the journal BMJ, people are more likely to go to cancer screenings if the test date is close to important days.

For years, experts guessed that some people avoided these screenings out of fear and/or concerns about discomfort or cost. But until recently, no one had investigated the role that the timing of tests plays.

Researchers in Norway analyzed follow-through among 20,780 men and women who had been randomly assigned an appointment for a colon cancer screening. They found that people were most likely to show up for appointments scheduled around Christmas and New Year’s Day, and within two weeks of a birthday. The conclusion: These events are reminders of the passing of time, which nudge us to take care of ourselves.

Also, people may have an urge to get things done at these times. So for a better chance of keeping your appointment, pick a memorable date for your screening.

First Published Thu, 2009-10-15 13:18

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