Breast cancer risk feedback to women in the UK NHS breast screening population

D Gareth R Evans, Louise S Donnelly, Elaine F Harkness, Susan M Astley, Paula Stavrinos, Sarah Dawe, Donna Watterson, Lynne Fox, Jamie C Sergeant, Sarah Ingham, Michelle N Harvie, Mary Wilson, Ursula Beetles, Iain Buchan, Adam R Brentnall, David P French, Jack Cuzick, Anthony Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: There are widespread moves to develop risk-stratified approaches to population-based breast screening. The public needs to favour receiving breast cancer risk information, which ideally should produce no detrimental effects. This study investigates risk perception, the proportion wishing to know their 10-year risk and whether subsequent screening attendance is affected.

METHODS: Fifty thousand women attending the NHS Breast Screening Programme completed a risk assessment questionnaire. Ten-year breast cancer risks were estimated using a validated algorithm (Tyrer-Cuzick) adjusted for visually assessed mammographic density. Women at high risk (⩾8%) and low risk (<1%) were invited for face-to-face or telephone risk feedback and counselling.

RESULTS: Of those invited to receive risk feedback, more high-risk women, 500 out of 673 (74.3%), opted to receive a consultation than low-risk women, 106 out of 193 (54.9%) (P<0.001). Women at high risk were significantly more likely to perceive their risk as high (P<0.001) and to attend their subsequent mammogram (94.4%) compared with low-risk women (84.2%; P=0.04) and all attendees (84.3%; ⩽0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Population-based assessment of breast cancer risk is feasible. The majority of women wished to receive risk information. Perception of general population breast cancer risk is poor. There were no apparent adverse effects on screening attendance for high-risk women whose subsequent screening attendance was increased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-52
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2016

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