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Statistical study to investigate women's preference in the phraseology of lifetime and age specific risk of developing breast cancer

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4 Author(s)
S. J. Wright ; Warwickshire, Solihull & Coventry Breast Screening Service, Coventry & Warwickshire Hosp., UK ; R. N. G. Naguib ; M. G. Wallis ; J. H. Barlow

There has been a marked increase in the number of requests to image women with a family history of breast cancer in the UK. A postal evaluation form is used to assess risk and to reassure women. However, uncertainty exists about the most appropriate wording of risk information. The aim of this study was to investigate women's preference in the phraseology of lifetime and age specific risk of developing breast cancer. A sample of 175 women was recruited from 6 geographical regions within the UK. Each woman was asked to state her preference between positive and negative wording of the lifetime risk and between three alternate ways of phrasing age specific risk (Percentage, Ratio and Description). Women were randomly assigned to six different combinations of wording, with stratification by two age bands: 17-30 and 31-55 years. Data were collected through self-completed, postal questionnaires. and responses were received from 137 out of 175 distributed questionnaires. Respondents had a median age of 42 years; 94% had formal educational qualifications; 98% were white European; 68% were married or living with a partner; and 85% were in paid employment (full time or part time). Statistically significantly more women preferred the positive phrasing of lifetime risk (76%) compared with negative wording (24%; χ2=36.57, p<0.0005). With respect to age specific risk, 44%, 19% and 37% of women preferred the odds, percentage and description wording, respectively. A significantly lower proportion of women preferred the percentage option (χ2=12.82, p=0.002). It is concluded that the choice of phraseology in the information given to women should focus on positive wording.

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2001. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

2001