MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rebekah Nagler PhD Assistant professor
Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Minnesota
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) have stated that women in their 40s–or, in the case of ACS, women ages 40-44–should have the choice to decide when they want to start screening for breast cancer. These organizations recommend that women in this age group weigh the benefits and risks of mammography screening, with the goal of making an informed decision about when to start screening. Yet recent research has shown that women are more aware of the benefits of mammography screening than the harms, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2247). We therefore wondered whether women actually have the information they need to make informed screening decisions.
In a population-based sample of 429 U.S. women ages 35-55, we found that awareness of breast cancer overdiagnosis (16.5%) and overtreatment (18.0%) was low. Moreover, we found that most women did not find statements about these harms to be believable and persuasive.