Medical Decision Making
There is still a great deal of discussion about the breast cancer screening guidelines released last week. This interesting editorial by Mary Barton and Joann Elmore in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examines, specifically, the recommendations about clinical breast exam (CBE), but, more generally, addresses the larger issue of making informed medical decisions.
Here is a quote: How can we use these new data to improve shared decision making with patients? It is well documented that patients and clinicians struggle with numeracy and the ability to understand information regarding risk ( 23 ). Both groups benefi t when patients are well informed and play a substantial role in deciding how to manage their health care ( 24 ). To make informed decisions, however, women must understand the risks, benefi ts, and side effects associated with each screening test and associated diagnoses. For some women, numbers on risks and harms may be hard to understand ( 25 ), and fear of breast cancer may hamper communication with their clinician ( 26 ). Moreover, the challenges of understanding both cancer risk and numeric information are shared equally by patients and their providers
If you would like to read more: http://tinyurl.com/ykzhv6v