Communicating breast cancer risks to women using different formats.
Using a pre-post test design with a baseline, laboratory, and a 6-month follow-up, we communicated women's objective breast cancer risks, based on the Gail Model, using two formats: (a) range of risks (e.g., risk of breast cancer can be as low as 1% and as high as 5%); and (b) as a point estimate (e.g., your risk of breast cancer is 3%). We examined how these presentations individually and jointly affected women's perceived lifetime breast cancer risks. Overall, providing risk estimates either as a range of risks or as a point estimate lowered women's perceived lifetime risks compared with women who did not get information presented this way shortly after receipt of this information relative to baseline. At the 6-month follow-up, perceptions of lifetime risks generally returned to their baseline values. Overall, women viewed their risk feedback, whether presented as a point estimate or as a range of risks, as equally credible, trustworthy, accurate, and personally relevant. These results suggest that women evaluate risk feedback containing either point estimates or range of risks as equally acceptable. Both formats lead to short-term reductions in perceived risk (i.e., greater accuracy).
Lipkus, IM; Klein, WM; Rimer, BK
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