Do women make an informed choice about participating in breast cancer screening? A survey among women invited for a first mammography screening examination

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Nov;89(2):353-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.08.003. Epub 2012 Sep 7.


Objective: To determine the level of informed choice in women invited for breast cancer screening for the first time.

Methods: To determine the content of decision-relevant knowledge, 16 experts were asked to judge whether each of 51 topics represented essential information to enable informed choices. To assess the level of informed choices, a questionnaire was then sent to all 460 invited women in the south-western part of the Netherlands who turned 50 in August 2008.

Results: Of all 229 respondents, 95% were deemed to have sufficient knowledge as they answered at least 8 out of 13 items correctly. In 90% there was consistency between intention (not) to participate and attitude. As a result, 88% made an informed choice. Sixty-eight percent of women responded correctly on the item of over-diagnosis. Even if all non-respondents were assumed to have no knowledge, 50% of the total group invited to participate still had sufficient knowledge.

Conclusions: Women were deemed to have sufficient relevant knowledge of the benefits and harms if they answered at least half of the items correctly.

Practice implications: To further increase informed choices in breast cancer screening, information on some of the possible harms merits further attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Intention
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires