A paper in The BMJ, “People’s willingness to accept overdetection in cancer screening: population survey,” paints a picture of how difficult is the challenge of trying to inform and educate patients and health care consumers about over detection.
The study tried to address what level of overdetection people would find acceptable in screening for bowel, breast and prostate cancer. The researchers conclude:
“People have highly variable views on how much overdetection is acceptable in cancer screening. They should therefore be informed about the risk of overdetection and its consequences before deciding to participate. To enable people to do this properly, we need to get better at quantifying harms and benefits.”
In this video, one of the researchers, Dr. Ann Van den Bruel of the University of Oxford explains the analysis.
There were several mentions of potential media influence in the paper:
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