(HealthDay News) — The majority of patients report that shared decision-making (SDM) is lacking when it comes to cancer screening decisions, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Richard M. Hoffman, MD, from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and colleagues conducted an Internet-based survey of 1,134 adults (657 women), aged ≥50, who made cancer-screening decisions (breast cancer, colorectal cancer [CRC], prostate cancer) within the previous 2 years.

RELATED: Shared Decision-Making Increases Satisfaction in Radiotherapy

Continue Reading

Responses included participants’ perceived cancer risk; how informed they felt about cancer tests; whether their health care provider addressed pros/cons of testing, presented the option of no testing, and elicited their input; whether they were tested; and their confidence in the screening decision.

The researchers found that the majority of decisions (1,098 of 1,134) were discussed with a health care provider (354 for breast cancer, 598 CRC, 146 prostate cancer). Pros of screening were addressed more than cons (51% to 67% vs. 7% to 14%, respectively).

Most of the time (63% to 71%), providers explained that testing was optional, but only 27% to 38% of participants reported SDM. The majority underwent screening (69% to 93%) and most (55% to 76%) would definitely make the same decision again.

“Supporting SDM could potentially improve the quality of cancer screening decisions,” the researchers wrote.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the decision support industry.


  1. Hoffman RM, Elmore JG, Fairfield KM et al. Lack of Shared Decision Making in Cancer Screening Discussions. Am J Prev Med. 2014;doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2014.04.011.