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Better Informed Women Less Likely to Want Mammogram

Risks and benefits of routine mammography continue to be debated

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Educating women about the possibility of overdiagnosis from mammography screening may make some of them less likely to get the test, new research suggests. The study was published online Feb. 17 in The Lancet.

The study included nearly 879 women, ages 48 to 50, who had not had mammography screening in the past two years and did not have a personal or strong family history of breast cancer. Some of the women were assigned to a decision support group, where they learned about the risks of over-detection and overdiagnosis associated with mammography screening.

Compared to women who didn’t receive the information, those in the decision support group had less favorable opinions about the screening and were much less likely to undergo it.

“Mammography screening can reduce breast cancer deaths, but most women are unaware that inconsequential disease can also be detected by screening, leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment,” study lead author Kirsten McCaffery, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, said in a university news release. The study “underlines the ethical imperative for women to have clear decision support materials so that they can make more informed decisions about whether they want to have a breast screening mammogram,” she added.

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