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      Online information about risks and benefits of screening mammography in 10 European countries : An observational Web sites analysis

      research-article
      , MD, , MD, , MD, , MD, , MD
      (Collab)
      Medicine
      Wolters Kluwer Health
      breast cancer screening, informed choice, mammography, preventive medicine

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          Abstract

          Most publications about breast cancer do not provide accurate and comprehensive information, giving few or no data about risk/benefit ratios. We conducted a comparative study among 10 European countries about health information on breast cancer screening, assessing the first 10 Web sites addressing the general public that appeared following an Internet search.

          With the help of medical residents involved in the EuroNet MRPH Association, we analyzed the first 30 results of an Internet search in 10 European countries to determine the first 10 sites that offered screening mammography. We searched for the following information: source of information, general information on mammography and breast cancer screening, potential harms and risks (false positives, false positives after biopsy, false negatives, interval cancer, overdiagnosis, lead-time bias, and radiation exposure), and potential benefits (reduced mortality and increased survival).

          The United Kingdom provided the most information: 39 of all 70 possible identified risks (56%) were reported on its sites. Five nations presented over 35% of the possible information (United Kingdom, Spain, France, Ireland, and Italy); the others were under 30% (Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Netherlands, and Croatia). Regarding the benefits, sites offering the most complete information were those in France (95%) and Poland (90%).

          Our results suggest that, despite consensus in the scientific community about providing better information to citizens, further efforts are needed to improve information about breast cancer screening. That conclusion also applies to countries showing better results. We believe that there should be greater coordination in this regard throughout Europe.

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          Most cited references34

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          Empirical studies assessing the quality of health information for consumers on the world wide web: a systematic review.

          The quality of consumer health information on the World Wide Web is an important issue for medicine, but to date no systematic and comprehensive synthesis of the methods and evidence has been performed. To establish a methodological framework on how quality on the Web is evaluated in practice, to determine the heterogeneity of the results and conclusions, and to compare the methodological rigor of these studies, to determine to what extent the conclusions depend on the methodology used, and to suggest future directions for research. We searched MEDLINE and PREMEDLINE (1966 through September 2001), Science Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Social Sciences Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), LISA (1969 through July 2001), CINAHL (1982 through July 2001), PsychINFO (1988 through September 2001), EMBASE (1988 through June 2001), and SIGLE (1980 through June 2001). We also conducted hand searches, general Internet searches, and a personal bibliographic database search. We included published and unpublished empirical studies in any language in which investigators searched the Web systematically for specific health information, evaluated the quality of Web sites or pages, and reported quantitative results. We screened 7830 citations and retrieved 170 potentially eligible full articles. A total of 79 distinct studies met the inclusion criteria, evaluating 5941 health Web sites and 1329 Web pages, and reporting 408 evaluation results for 86 different quality criteria. Two reviewers independently extracted study characteristics, medical domains, search strategies used, methods and criteria of quality assessment, results (percentage of sites or pages rated as inadequate pertaining to a quality criterion), and quality and rigor of study methods and reporting. Most frequently used quality criteria used include accuracy, completeness, readability, design, disclosures, and references provided. Fifty-five studies (70%) concluded that quality is a problem on the Web, 17 (22%) remained neutral, and 7 studies (9%) came to a positive conclusion. Positive studies scored significantly lower in search (P =.02) and evaluation (P =.04) methods. Due to differences in study methods and rigor, quality criteria, study population, and topic chosen, study results and conclusions on health-related Web sites vary widely. Operational definitions of quality criteria are needed.
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            Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial

            Objective To compare breast cancer incidence and mortality up to 25 years in women aged 40-59 who did or did not undergo mammography screening. Design Follow-up of randomised screening trial by centre coordinators, the study’s central office, and linkage to cancer registries and vital statistics databases. Setting 15 screening centres in six Canadian provinces,1980-85 (Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia). Participants 89 835 women, aged 40-59, randomly assigned to mammography (five annual mammography screens) or control (no mammography). Interventions Women aged 40-49 in the mammography arm and all women aged 50-59 in both arms received annual physical breast examinations. Women aged 40-49 in the control arm received a single examination followed by usual care in the community. Main outcome measure Deaths from breast cancer. Results During the five year screening period, 666 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in the mammography arm (n=44 925 participants) and 524 in the controls (n=44 910), and of these, 180 women in the mammography arm and 171 women in the control arm died of breast cancer during the 25 year follow-up period. The overall hazard ratio for death from breast cancer diagnosed during the screening period associated with mammography was 1.05 (95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.30). The findings for women aged 40-49 and 50-59 were almost identical. During the entire study period, 3250 women in the mammography arm and 3133 in the control arm had a diagnosis of breast cancer, and 500 and 505, respectively, died of breast cancer. Thus the cumulative mortality from breast cancer was similar between women in the mammography arm and in the control arm (hazard ratio 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.88 to 1.12). After 15 years of follow-up a residual excess of 106 cancers was observed in the mammography arm, attributable to over-diagnosis. Conclusion Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is freely available. Overall, 22% (106/484) of screen detected invasive breast cancers were over-diagnosed, representing one over-diagnosed breast cancer for every 424 women who received mammography screening in the trial.
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              Patients' use of the Internet for medical information.

              To determine the percentage of patients enrolled in a primary care practice who use the Internet for health information, to describe the types of information sought, to evaluate patients' perceptions of the quality of this information, and to determine if patients who use the Internet for health information discuss this with their doctors. Self-administered mailed survey. Patients from a primary care internal medicine private practice. Randomly selected patients ( N=1,000) were mailed a confidential survey between December 1999 and March 2000. The response rate was 56.2%. Of the 512 patients who returned the survey, 53.5% (274) stated that they used the Internet for medical information. Those using the Internet for medical information were more educated ( P <.001) and had higher incomes ( P <.001). Respondents used the Internet for information on a broad range of medical topics. Sixty percent felt that the information on the Internet was the "same as" or "better than" information from their doctors. Of those using the Internet for health information, 59% did not discuss this information with their doctor. Neither gender, education level, nor age less than 60 years was associated with patients sharing their Web searches with their physicians. However, patients who discussed this information with their doctors rated the quality of information higher than those who did not share this information with their providers. Primary care providers should recognize that patients are using the World Wide Web as a source of medical and health information and should be prepared to offer suggestions for Web-based health resources and to assist patients in evaluating the quality of medical information available on the Internet.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Medicine (Baltimore)
                Medicine (Baltimore)
                MEDI
                Medicine
                Wolters Kluwer Health
                0025-7974
                1536-5964
                June 2018
                01 June 2018
                : 97
                : 22
                Affiliations
                Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy.
                Author notes
                []Correspondence: Francesco Attena, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, 5, Via Luciano Armanni, 80138 Napoli, Italy (e-mail: francesco.attena@ 123456unicampania.it ).
                Article
                MD-D-18-00683 10957
                10.1097/MD.0000000000010957
                6393047
                29851843
                306bfd3d-0885-480e-96fb-6a5b845eb6f9
                Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License 4.0, which allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0

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                Research Article
                Observational Study
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                breast cancer screening,informed choice,mammography,preventive medicine

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