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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


BALLESTEROS-PENA, Sendoa  and  GAVILAN-MORAL, Enrique. Content of official addressed to women informative documents about breast cancer screening in Spain. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2018, vol.92, e201810076.  Epub Oct 29, 2018. ISSN 2173-9110.


There are several methods to promote informed decision making before undergoing a screening program. This research aimed to analyze the contents of official documents about breast cancer screening programs.


A descriptive research was performed. After a literature review an agreed checklist was performed with the information needed to make decisions about participation in mammography screening programs. Informative documents about mammography screening valid in Spain in 2016 were analyzed by two independent researchers. The inter-rater agreement was verified and the discrepancies were solved by consensus. Absolute and relative frequencies of each item were calculated.


8 invitations and 14 citation letters, 12 leaflets, 8 brochures and 14 websites, from 18 screening programs, were reviewed. The information turned out to be very different according to each program. Only a third warned that participation is voluntary. 8 programs (44.4%) offered information on what is breast cancer and 7 (38.9%) on the cumulative risk of developing the disease. 15 (83.3%) explained the objectives of the program and 14 (77.8%) explained what mammography is. 14 programs (77.8%) presented as screening benefits the least invasive treatments, 12 the increase in survival (66.7%) and 10 the decrease in specific mortality (55.6%). Most of the programs did not report the possibility of false positives (27.8%) or false negatives (38.9%). Only 7 (38.9%) mentioned the possibility of overdiagnosis and 6 (33.3%) of overtreatment.


The information provided by the different breast cancer screening programs is variable and does not contain sufficient information for informed decision-making.

Keywords : Health Communication; Information services; Health Literacy; Mammography; Secondary prevention; Breast neoplasm; Straining; Decision making; Use of scientific information for health decision making.

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