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Most Women Willing to Trade Off Benefits, Risks of Breast Screening

Last Updated: March 08, 2018.

On average, women are willing to accept some additional unnecessary follow-ups and costs for additional cancer detection, although there is considerable heterogeneity in preferences for screening, according to a study published in the February issue of Value in Health.

THURSDAY, March 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- On average, women are willing to accept some additional unnecessary follow-ups and costs for additional cancer detection, although there is considerable heterogeneity in preferences for screening, according to a study published in the February issue of Value in Health.

Caroline M. Vass, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used an online discrete choice experiment survey to solicit preferences from female members of the public for a national breast screening program (NBSP) described by the probability of detecting a cancer, risk of unnecessary follow-up, and out-of-pocket screening costs. Respondents were randomized to one of two surveys presenting risk as percentages only (507 women) or as an icon array and percentages (511 women). In 11 choice sets, respondents were required to choose between two hypothetical NBSPs or no screening.

The researchers found that women were willing to accept 1.72 additional unnecessary follow-ups and willing to pay £79.17 for an additional cancer detected per 100 women screened, on average. Substantial heterogeneity in preferences, with the best fit provided by six latent classes and three scale classes, was indicated. The risk communication format received did not predict scale class or preference class membership.

"Most women were willing to trade off the benefits and risks of screening, but decision makers seeking to improve uptake should consider the disparate needs of women when configuring services," the authors write.

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