Increasing the accuracy of perceived breast cancer risk: results from a randomized trial with Cancer Information Service callers

Prev Med. 2004 Jul;39(1):64-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.02.043.


Background: Results are reported from a randomized trial designed to increase the accuracy of perceived breast cancer risk among callers to the NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) (n = 392).

Methods: CIS callers assigned to the intervention group (n = 200) received a brief educational intervention and an estimate of breast cancer risk over the telephone at the end of usual service. Follow-up interviews were completed by telephone at 1 month (n = 367).

Results: On average, women overestimated their risk by 25 percentage points. Eighty percent of the respondents rated their risk of breast cancer higher than did the assessment tool. Women rated their risk higher if they were under age 50 (P = 0.025) or had a first-degree family history of breast cancer (P = 0.0001), and rated their risk lower if they were Latina (P = 0.050) or Asian/other race/ethnicity (P = 0.013). Women with a first-degree family history of breast cancer in the intervention group significantly reduced their risk overestimate compared to those in the control group (-12.5 vs. 2.8 percentage points, P = 0.006).

Conclusions: This intervention was unique because it was delivered in an ongoing service setting. It should be further tested in diverse populations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Telephone
  • United States