Publication Abstract

Authors: Egger JR, Cutter GR, Carney PA, Taplin SH, Barlow WE, Hendrick RE, D'Orsi CJ, Fosse JS, Abraham L, Elmore JG

Title: Mammographers' perception of women's breast cancer risk.

Journal: Med Decis Making 25(3):283-9

Date: 2005 May-Jun

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To understand mammographers' perception of individual women's breast cancer risk. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Radiologists interpreting screening mammography examinations completed a mailed survey consisting of questions pertaining to demographic and clinical practice characteristics, as well as 2 vignettes describing different risk profiles of women. Respondents were asked to estimate the probability of a breast cancer diagnosis in the next 5 years for each vignette. Vignette responses were plotted against mean recall rates in actual clinical practice. RESULTS: The survey was returned by 77% of eligible radiologists. Ninety-three percent of radiologists overestimated risk in the vignette involving a 70-year-old woman; 96% overestimated risk in the vignette involving a 41-year-old woman. Radiologists who more accurately estimated breast cancer risk were younger, worked full-time, were affiliated with an academic medical center, had fellowship training, had fewer than 10 years experience interpreting mammograms, and worked more than 40% of the time in breast imaging. However, only age was statistically significant. No association was found between radiologists' risk estimate and their recall rate. CONCLUSION: U.S. radiologists have a heightened perception of breast cancer risk.