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Overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening: women have minimal prior awareness of the issue, and their screening intentions are influenced by the size of the risk
  1. Mette Kalager
  1. Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Mette Kalager
    Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; mkalager{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Women have little knowledge about overdiagnosis of breast cancer.

  • If the overdiagnosis rate is 50%, some women will consider declining breast cancer screening.

  • Doctors need to be aware of the issue of overdiagnosis and women need access to balanced information.


There has been increasing awareness recently of the problems of overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening. The amount of overdiagnosis varies across different studies. The aim of this study by Hersch and colleagues was to generate insight into women's understanding and interpretation of overdiagnosis of breast cancer screening. Further, to understand how different estimates of overdiagnosis influence screening attitudes and how women view information given on …

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  • Competing interests None.