Background: Clinicians are encouraged to support patients in achieving shared decision making (SDM) for cancer screening.
Purpose: To describe decision making processes and outcomes for cancer screening discussions.
Methods: A 2011 national Internet survey of adults aged ≥50 years who made cancer screening decisions (breast, BrCa; colorectal, CRC; prostate, PCa) within the previous 2 years was conducted. Participants were asked about their perceived cancer risk; how informed they felt about cancer tests; whether their healthcare provider addressed pros/cons of testing, presented the option of no testing, and elicited their input; whether they were tested; and their confidence in the screening decision. Data were analyzed in 2013-2014 with descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
Results: Overall, 1,134 participants (477 men, 657 women) aged ≥50 years made cancer screening decisions, and 1,098 (354, BrCa; 598, CRC; 146, PCa) decisions were discussed with a healthcare provider. Most discussions (51%-67%) addressed pros of screening some or a lot, but few (7%-14%) similarly addressed cons. For all cancer screening decisions, providers usually (63%-71%) explained that testing was optional, but less often asked women (43%-57%) than men (70%-71%) whether they wanted testing. Only 27%-38% of participants reported SDM, 69%-93% underwent screening, and 55%-76% would definitely make the same decision again. Perceived high/average cancer risk and feeling highly informed were associated with confidence in the screening decision.
Conclusions: Discussions often failed to provide balanced information and meet SDM criteria. Supporting SDM could potentially improve the quality of cancer screening decisions.
Published by Elsevier Inc.