Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Women overestimate breast cancer risk

08.06.2005


Actual 13 percent risk causes relief for women asked to estimate risk



While breast cancer is a significant health threat – striking 211,000 American women each year – a new study finds most women have a distorted view of their risk. When asked to estimate the lifetime risk of breast cancer, 89 percent of women overestimated their risk, with an average estimate of 46 percent – more than three times the actual risk of 13 percent, according to a study by University of Michigan Health System researchers.

"Breast cancer is so commonly in the news, and most of us can think of friends or relatives who have been diagnosed with it. That leads us to overestimate how common it really is. We forget that we know a lot of people with breast cancer because we know a lot of people," says senior study author Peter Ubel, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and director of the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine.


Results of the study appear in the June issue of the journal Patient Education and Counseling. In the study, researchers surveyed 356 women. Half the women were asked to estimate the average woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and half were not asked for an estimate. Both groups then received information on breast cancer risk.

The group that did not estimate risk beforehand was asked whether the 13 percent risk was higher or lower than they had expected. Only 37 percent said the actual risk was lower than they had expected – compared to 89 percent of women in the other group who initially thought the risk was much higher. The researchers then asked women from both groups how anxious or relieved the information made them and whether they thought a 13 percent risk was high or low.

The women who did not give an estimate first were more likely to feel anxious about the breast cancer risk information, 25 percent vs. 12 percent of women who gave an estimate first. At the same time, twice as many women who gave an estimate beforehand said they were relieved by the actual risk, 40 percent vs. 19 percent.

"After estimating that 46 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, when they find out it’s actually 13 percent, that seems relatively low and women feel a sense of relief," says lead study author Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D., research investigator in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and with the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

The researchers suggest doctors can use these findings to help patients who seem particularly concerned about their risk of breast cancer.

"Doctors need to be in touch with their patients’ needs. If a woman is unduly anxious about her risk of breast cancer, and that anxiety is ruining her life, it might help to ask her what she thinks her chance of breast cancer really is. She is likely to overestimate that risk, and now the doctor will have a chance to tell her the true risk and, potentially, put her mind at ease," says Ubel, a staff physician at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

At the same time, the researchers stress, overestimating the risk does not diminish the importance of prevention strategies, such as yearly mammograms and monthly breast self exams.

Nicole Fawcett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>