Dutch women's intended participation in a risk-based breast cancer screening and prevention programme: a survey study identifying preferences, facilitators and barriers

BMC Cancer. 2020 Oct 6;20(1):965. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-07464-2.


Background: Risk-based breast cancer screening may improve the benefit-harm ratio of screening by tailoring policy to a woman's personal breast cancer risk. This study aims to explore Dutch women's preferences regarding the organisation and implementation of a risk-based breast cancer screening and prevention programme, identifying potential barriers and facilitators to uptake.

Methods: A total of 5110 participants in the Dutch Personalised RISk-based MAmmography screening (PRISMA) study were invited, of whom 942 completed a two-part web-based survey. The first part contained questions about personal characteristics; for the second part, women were randomly assigned to one of four hypothetical breast cancer risk scenarios (i.e. low, average, moderate, or high) with subsequent tailored screening and prevention advice. Descriptive statistics are used to present women's organisational preferences. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed using seven proxy measures for acceptability of risk-based screening (e.g., interest in risk) and risk-based prevention (e.g., willingness to change diet).

Results: Interest in breast cancer risk was high (80.3%). Higher assigned risk scenario was most consistently associated with acceptance of tailored screening and prevention recommendations. Increased acceptance of lifestyle changes was additionally associated with higher education. Having a first degree family history of breast cancer decreased women's motivation to participate in preventative lifestyle measures. Acceptability of medication was associated with a woman's general beliefs about the (over)use and benefit-harm balance of medication.

Conclusions: Dutch women generally appear in favour of receiving their breast cancer risk estimate with subsequent tailored screening and prevention recommendations. However, women's level of acceptance depends on their assigned risk category. Offering tailored screening and prevention recommendations to low-risk women will be most challenging. Educating women on the benefits and harms of all risk-based screening and prevention strategies is key to acceptability and informed decision-making.

Keywords: Acceptability; Breast cancer; Prevention; Risk assessment; Screening.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Surveys and Questionnaires