Public Knowledge of Benefits of Breast and Prostate Cancer Screening
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Given the harms that can ensue from cancer screening procedures, people’s decisions as to whether to undergo cancer screening should be based on a realistic knowledge of its benefits. Face-to-face-interviews were conducted among a representative sample of men and women in nine European countries, who were asked to choose among estimates of the number of fewer cancer-specific deaths (per 1,000 individuals screened) by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and mammography screening, respectively. Participants were also queried as to their sources of medical information. The study reported in this chapter found dramatic (by an order of magnitude or more) overestimation of the benefits (absolute cancer-specific mortality reduction) of mammography and PSA testing in the vast majority of women and men, respectively, in all countries surveyed. Frequent consultation of sources of medical information (including physicians) was not associated with more realistic knowledge of the benefits of screening. A basis for informed decisions by people about participation in screening for breast and prostate cancer is largely non-existent in Europe, suggesting inadequacies in the information made available to the public.
KeywordsBreast Cancer Prostate Cancer Cancer Screening Breast Cancer Screening Mammography Screening
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