Women less likely to choose mammography screening when informed about overdiagnosis risk

Women should be informed, not only of the benefits of mammography, but also of the shortcomings of the test

breast-aware image
Educating women about the possibility of “overdiagnosis” from mammography screening may make some of them less likely to get the test, a new study says. Women should be informed, not only of the benefits of mammography, but also of the shortcomings of the test.

Background
Women are largely unaware that mammography screening can cause overdetection of inconsequential disease, leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer. Evidence is lacking about how information on overdetection affects women’s breast screening decisions and experiences. A study investigated the consequences of providing information about overdetection of breast cancer to women approaching the age of invitation to mammography screening.

Interpretation
Information on overdetection of breast cancer provided within a decision aid increased the number of women making an informed choice about breast screening. Becoming better informed might mean women are less likely to choose screening.

Sources and more information

  • Mammogram Rates May Fall When Women Learn of ‘Overdiagnosis’ Risk,
    health, February 19, 2015.
  • Use of a decision aid including information on overdetection to support informed choice about breast cancer screening: a randomised controlled trial,
    lancet, 17 February 2015.
  • Overdetection in breast cancer screening: development and preliminary evaluation of a decision aid, BMJ Open, 5 September 2014.
  • The effect of information about overdetection of breast cancer on women’s decision-making about mammography screening:study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMJ Open, May 25, 2014.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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