Nav: Home

Low awareness of breast cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment among US women

September 14, 2017

Did you know that routine mammograms can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer? Most American women aren't aware of these risks of breast cancer screening, reports a study in the October issue of Medical Care, published by Wolters Kluwer.

What's more, most women don't find statements about breast cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment to be "believable or persuasive," according to the new research by Rebekah H. Nagler, PhD, of University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues. The findings underscore the challenges of accurately communicating these risks so that women can make informed decisions about mammograms and breast cancer screening.

Less Than 20 Percent of US Women Know About Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

The survey study sought to assess women's awareness and perceptions of overdiagnosis and overtreatment -- two of the main potential harmful effects of breast cancer screening. Overdiagnosis refers to detection of cancers that grow so slowly that they would never have caused any health problems during a woman's lifetime. Overdiagnosis often leads to overtreatment, which refers to unnecessary treatments (such as surgery or medications) that expose women to side effects with minimal health benefits.

"Although it is difficult to pinpoint just how common cancer overdiagnosis is...there is growing expert consensus that the phenomenon is real and may require a re-evaluation of aggressive screening strategies," Dr. Nagler and coauthors write. The authors argue that it is important for patients to understand potential harms such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment so that they can carefully consider whether and when to begin breast cancer screening.

The study was a survey of a nationally representative sample of 429 US women, aged 35 to 55. Only 16.5 percent were aware of the potential risk of overdiagnosis from breast cancer screening, while 18.0 percent were aware of the concept of overtreatment. Women younger than 40 were least likely to have heard about overdiagnosis.

When presented with statements regarding overdiagnosis and overtreatment, most women had negative perceptions. "Fewer than 1 in 4 agreed with and found statements about overdiagnosis and overtreatment to be believable, and even fewer evaluated them as strong arguments to consider in their own mammography decision making," Dr. Nagler and coauthors write.

Women who had recently had a mammogram were "particularly unconvinced" by these statements. Women with a usual source of medical care were also less likely to believe statements regarding overdiagnosis.

Dr. Nagler and colleagues believe their findings have implications for communicating with patients about the potential harms of breast cancer screening. In particular, women with a strong history of following advice to get mammograms might be an important target for interventions to improve informed decision-making.

Given evidence that many women view breast cancer screening favorably, it may be challenging for providers to communicate with patients about its potential harms. Dr. Nagler and coauthors conclude: "Rigorous health communication research is necessary to inform communication interventions that could improve patient understanding of overdiagnosis and overtreatment [and] promote appropriate use of screening."
-end-
Click here to read the article: Women's Awareness of and Responses to Messages About Breast Cancer Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment: Results From a 2016 National Survey

Article DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000798

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Breast Cancer Articles:

Does MRI plus mammography improve detection of new breast cancer after breast conservation therapy?
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and MRI or ultrasonography screenings for new breast cancers in women who have previously undergone breast conservation surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer initially diagnosed at 50 or younger.
Blood test offers improved breast cancer detection tool to reduce use of breast biopsy
A Clinical Breast Cancer study demonstrates Videssa Breast can inform better next steps after abnormal mammogram results and potentially reduce biopsies up to 67 percent.
Surgery to remove unaffected breast in early breast cancer increases
The proportion of women in the United States undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer who have preventive mastectomy to remove the unaffected breast increased significantly in recent years, particularly among younger women, and varied substantially across states.
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue more likely to develop contralateral disease
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue have almost a two-fold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer.
Some early breast cancer patients benefit more from breast conservation than from mastectomy
Breast conserving therapy (BCT) is better than mastectomy for patients with some types of early breast cancer, according to results from the largest study to date, presented at ECC2017.
One-third of breast cancer patients not getting appropriate breast imaging follow-up exam
An annual mammogram is recommended after treatment for breast cancer, but nearly one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer aren't receiving this follow-up exam, according to new findings presented at the 2016 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
Low breast density worsens prognosis in breast cancer
Even though dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer, very low mammographic breast density is associated with a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients.
Is breast conserving therapy or mastectomy better for early breast cancer?
Young women with early breast cancer face a difficult choice about whether to opt for a mastectomy or breast conserving therapy (BCT).
Breast density and outcomes of supplemental breast cancer screening
In a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA, Elizabeth A.
Full dose radiotherapy to whole breast may not be needed in early breast cancer
Five years after breast-conserving surgery, radiotherapy focused around the tumor bed is as good at preventing recurrence as irradiating the whole breast, with fewer side effects, researchers from the UK have found in the large IMPORT LOW trial.

Related Breast Cancer Reading:

The Breast Cancer Survival Manual, Sixth Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer
by John Link M.D. (Author), James Waisman M.D. (Author), Nancy Link R.N. (Author)

One of the most comprehensive and bestselling books on breast cancer treatment and survival, completely revised and updated

The sixth edition of Breast Cancer Survival Manual provides essential updates on treatment and care, enhancing the basic information that has made this the most trusted guide for women diagnosed with breast cancer for the past two decades. This edition includes the most current advice on:
· The new genomic classification of breast cancer and its importance in treatment planning
· Cancer gene testing, which determines if a woman will benefit... View Details


Breast Cancer Smoothies: 100 Delicious, Research-Based Recipes for Prevention and Recovery
by Daniella Chace (Author)

The statistics are staggering. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women--About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Second only to heart disease by a mere one percent, every ounce of prevention and every window of opportunity for healing is critical. In order to reduce the risk of developing this common disease, you need a targeted plan to protect yourself from common breast toxins and to strengthen your immune defenses.

In her delightful new book, Daniella breaks down the complex topic of... View Details


Dear Friend: Letters of Encouragement, Humor, and Love for Women with Breast Cancer
by Gina L Mulligan (Author)

This beautiful collection of handwritten letters offers strength, encouragement, and comfort to women living with breast cancer. Written by compassionate strangers—many of whom have gone through their own health battles—these heartfelt letters were gathered by Girls Love Mail, an organization that provides support to people diagnosed with breast cancer as seen on NBC Nightly News. Presented in an elegant package with metallic endpapers, and a ribbon marker, and brimming with warm messages of empathy, inspiration, and humor, Dear Friend delivers words of wisdom when they're needed... View Details


Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey: Surviving and Thriving During and After Your Diagnosis and Treatment
by Dr. Julie Silver (Author)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey will encourage comfort and encourage breast cancer patients and survivors with its inspiring stories and helpful medical information.

A support group from breast cancer diagnosis through treatment to rehabilitation and recovery, this book combines inspiring Chicken Soup for the Soul stories written just for this book and accessible leading-edge medical information from Dr. Julie Silver of Harvard Medical School. Patients and survivors will find comfort, strength and hope. View Details


Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)
by Susan M. Love (Author), Karen Lindsey (Contributor), Elizabeth Love (Contributor)

For a woman faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, the information available today is vast, uneven, and confusing. For more than two decades, readers have relied on Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book to guide them through this frightening thicket of research and opinion to find the best possible options for their particular situations. This sixth edition explains exciting advances in targeted treatments, hormonal therapies, safer chemotherapy, and immunologic approaches as well as new forms of surgery and radiation. There is extensive guidance for the increasing number of women living for... View Details


Heal Breast Cancer Naturally: 7 Essential Steps to Beating Breast Cancer
by Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (Author)

One out of eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. One out of 3 women will experience some form of cancer in their life time.

I was one of those statistics even though I was living a healthy lifestyle that consisted of organic foods, regular exercise, massage, Chiropractic care and colonics. How could somebody like me develop Breast Cancer?

That very question led to thousands of hours of research, study, soul-searching and prayer. It all came together as The 7 Essentials – 7 basic steps that are necessary for preventing and healing cancer, or any dis-ease for... View Details


The Breast Cancer Cookbook: Over 100 Easy Recipes to Nourish and Boost Health During and After Treatment
by Mohammed Keshtgar (Author), Jan Baldwin (Photographer), Alastair M. Thompson (Photographer), Emily Jonzen (Photographer)

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lifetimes. Research has shown that adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of getting the disease and improve the survival of patients who have been diagnosed. Mo Keshtgar discusses the risk factors and foods that can play a positive role in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, including fruit, vegetables, and phytoestrogens. Covering breakfast, soups, salads, fish and shellfish, poultry and meat, vegetarian dishes, desserts, treats, and drinks, the recipes have all been especially created to take in all the dietary... View Details


Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) during Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond
by Marc Silver (Author)

A unique guide, like none other on the market-packed with medical information, practical tips, psychological insight, and coping strategies-to help men help the women they love through this trying time.

When Marc Silver became a breast cancer husband three years ago, he learned firsthand how frightened and helpless the breast cancer husband feels. He searched in vain for a book that would give him the information and advice he so desperately sought. Now this award-winning journalist has compiled just the kind of emotionally supportive and useful resource that he wished he had been... View Details


Just Get Me Through This! - Revised and Updated: A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer
by Deborah A. Cohen (Author), Robert M. Gelfand M.D. (Author)

You Can Get Through This

Your doctor told you it was breast cancer. So now what?! You'll need plenty of essential advice--the kind that only comes from someone who's been there.

In Just Get Me Through This! Deborah A. Cohen and Robert M. Gelfand, M.D. help you deal with all the ups and downs of the breast cancer experience. From the shock of diagnosis to getting through treatment to getting on with your life, they pack it with plenty of straight talk and practical tips. This newly updated edition also includes advice from two prominent breast cancer... View Details


The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence (The New Harbinger Whole-Body Healing Series)
by Edward Bauman MEd PhD (Author), Helayne Waldman MS EdD (Author), Donald I. Abrams MD (Foreword)

If you’re a breast cancer survivor, chances are you have renewed your commitment to maintaining your good health and taking care of your body. As one of the best preventative measures known to doctors and nutritionists today, a robust, cancer-fighting diet is vital to your personal plan for breast cancer prevention.

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors is an essential guide for every woman seeking to understand the effect of nutritional deficiencies and environmental factors on her overall health and wellness. Based on Edward Bauman’s groundbreaking Eating for... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."