Study: 'Decision Aids' Under, Ineffectively Used to Help Patients Choose Cancer Screening Options

Cancer screening 'decision aids,' such as videos, audiotapes, workbooks and pamphlets, are intended to help physicians and patients work together to determine the method and frequency of cancer screening, but are often either underused or used ineffectively, according to a study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Researchers analyzed 73 decision aids for breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancers. Less than half had been promoted for use with subsequent screening behavior, and only 18 were found to be used for shared decision making.

"Our goal was to determine whether decision aids could potentially lead to better shared decision-making regarding screening between the patient and the clinician. There is evidence that decision aids are fairly effective in improving patient knowledge but we found that they may not be used as well and effectively as they could be," said lead author Masahito Jimbo, MD, PhD, associate professor in family medicine and urology at the University of Michigan Medical School in a news release.

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