HealthDay News — Female patients who are educated about the possibility of overdiagnosis from mammography screenings may be less likely to get the test, research published in The Lancet suggests.

To investigate whether including information about the overdetection of breast cancer would help women make an informed choice about breast screening, Jolyn Hersch, MApplSc, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a community-based, parallel-group controlled trial.

Female patients, aged 50 years on average, were eligible for the cohort study if they had not had mammography in the past 2 years and did not have a personal or strong family history of breast cancer. The investigators randomly assigned 879 to receive either the intervention discussion aid or controlled decision aid.

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Compared with women who didn’t receive the information, the patients in the intervention group had less favorable opinions about the screening and were much less likely to undergo it. More women in the intervention group met the threshold for adequate overall knowledge (29%) compared with women in the control group (17%).

“Information on overdetection of breast cancer provided within a decision aid increased the number of women making an informed choice about breast screening,” concluded the researchers.

“Becoming better informed might mean women are less likely to choose screening.”


  1. Hersch J et al. The Lancet. 2015; doi: