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Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Aug;84(2):251-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.07.025. Epub 2010 Aug 16.

"There is nothing to worry about": gynecologists' counseling on mammography.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany. wegwarth@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In Germany, approximately 10 million women between the ages of 50 and 69 are eligible for biennial mammography screening. Mammography is at the center of much controversy, however, which means gynecologists must provide women considering mammography with sufficient and transparent information. The present study analyzed the information gynecologists share with a person seeking advice about the benefit and harms of mammography screening.

METHOD:

To receive realistic data, we called 20 gynecologists practicing in different large cities across Germany and took telephone counseling sessions on the benefit and harms of mammography.

RESULTS:

The majority of gynecologists described mammography as safe and scientifically well grounded. Harms were rarely mentioned or described as negligible. A minority of gynecologists provided numerical information; when they did, they often quantified the benefit using relative risk reduction and harms using absolute risk increase.

CONCLUSION:

A sample of German gynecologists was not able to correctly and transparently communicate the benefit and harms of mammography screening to a patient.

PRACTICE IMPLICATION:

Gynecologists should be taught how to understand and transparently explain medical risk information in simple terms.

PMID:
20719463
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2010.07.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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