Information about tests for breast cancer: what are we telling people?

J Fam Pract. 2002 Oct;51(10):858-60.


We reviewed publications currently available about breast cancer screening to assess what information was provided about test accuracy and pretest and posttest disease probabilities, as this information is needed by consumers to make informed decisions about whether to undergo testing and to fully understand test results. A rating form was developed and used to assess 54 publications about their reports of breast cancer tests. A description of how the test is done was provided by almost all publications (93%). About half (48%) provided some information about possible adverse effects of the test. Eighteen percent of publications provided some (generally qualitative) information about test accuracy, and none provided quantitative information about the probability of disease given normal and abnormal test results.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • New South Wales
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Teaching Materials*