Informed choice in mammography screening: a randomized trial of a decision aid for 70-year-old women

Arch Intern Med. 2007 Oct 22;167(19):2039-46. doi: 10.1001/archinte.167.19.2039.


Background: Many women who have participated in mammography screening are now approaching 70 years of age. These women are advised to consider both the benefits and harms of continuing to be screened. Doing so may be difficult for individual women, and there are no evaluated decision support tools to assist them.

Methods: To assess the effect of a decision aid (DA) about whether to continue or stop mammography screening for women aged 70 years, a population-based, randomized controlled trial was conducted in New South Wales, Australia. Women aged 70 years who had regularly participated in mammography screening were eligible to participate in the trial. Women received a DA providing balanced, quantitative information or standard information available from the screening program. The main outcomes were the percentage of women making an informed choice about whether to continue or stop screening and the percentage of women participating in the screening.

Results: Women who received the DA (the intervention group) were better informed than the control group (mean increase in knowledge score out of 10, 2.62 for the intervention group vs 0.68 for the control group; P < .001), and a significantly greater percentage made an informed choice (73.5% vs 48.8%; P < .001). The DA did not increase anxiety and slightly reduced decisional conflict. There was no difference in the percentage of women who participated in screening within 1 month.

Conclusions: This DA increased knowledge and assisted women to make an informed choice. It did not alter participation in screening. The DA is an effective way to assist women to make a decision about continuing mammography screening and seems to be a feasible intervention within a population screening program.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • New South Wales
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient Satisfaction