The effectiveness of a graphical presentation in addition to a frequency format in the context of familial breast cancer risk communication: a multicenter controlled trial

Lidewij Henneman*, Jan C. Oosterwijk, Christi J. van Asperen, Fred H. Menko, Caroline F. Ockhuysen-Vermey, Piet J. Kostense, Liesbeth Claassen, Danielle R. M. Timmermans

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Inadequate understanding of risk among counselees is a common problem in familial cancer clinics. It has been suggested that graphical displays can help counselees understand cancer risks and subsequent decision-making. We evaluated the effects of a graphical presentation in addition to a frequency format on counselees' understanding, psychological well-being, and preventive intentions.

Design: Multicenter controlled trial.

Setting: Three familial cancer clinics in the Netherlands.

Methods: Participants: Unaffected women with a breast cancer family history (first-time attendees).

Intervention: Immediately after standard genetic counseling, an additional consultation by a trained risk counselor took place where women were presented with their lifetime breast cancer risk in frequency format (X out of 100) (n = 63) or frequency format plus graphical display (10 x 10 human icons) (n = 91).

Main outcome measures: understanding of risk (risk accuracy, risk perception), psychological well-being, and intentions regarding cancer prevention. Measurements were assessed using questionnaires at baseline, 2-week and 6-month follow-up.

Results: Baseline participant characteristics did not differ between the two groups. In both groups there was an increase in women's risk accuracy from baseline to follow-up. No significant differences were found between women who received the frequency format and those who received an additional graphical display in terms of understanding, psychological well-being and intentions regarding cancer prevention. The groups did not differ in their evaluation of the process of counseling.

Conclusion: Women's personal risk estimation accuracy was generally high at baseline and the results suggest that an additional graphical display does not lead to a significant benefit in terms of increasing understanding of risk, psychological well-being and preventive intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29-Apr-2013

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Genetic counseling
  • Risk communication
  • Risk perception
  • Cancer worry
  • Decision-making
  • Graphical display
  • BRCA1/2 MUTATION
  • PERCEPTION
  • DECISIONS
  • HEALTH
  • IMPACT
  • INFORMATION
  • PENETRANCE
  • AVOIDANCE
  • HISTORY
  • NUMBERS

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