Decision aid reduces breast overscreening for older women

2016 12 07 15 33 51 25 Woman Senior Citizen 400

Women over the age of 74 who received an educational workbook about screening mammography were less likely to get a breast screening exam, according to an article published on April 20 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To help educate older women about breast screening, the authors created a paper-based mammography screening decision aid workbook. About half of the 546 study participants received a workbook before a visit with their primary care provider (PCP).

A year and a half later, 9.1% fewer women who received the decision aid underwent screening mammography. Women who received the workbook were also more likely to rate their screening intentions lower, more likely to talk to their PCP about mammography, and more likely to be knowledgeable about breast screening.

The authors didn't find any difference in 10-year life expectancy between the women who received the workbook and those who did not. They concluded the workbook could help reduce unnecessary breast screenings.

"Providing women 75 years and older with a mammography screening [decision aid] before a PCP visit helps them make more informed screening decisions and leads to fewer women choosing to be screened, suggesting that the [decision aid] may help reduce overscreening," they wrote.

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