A bias for action in cancer screening?

Research that has explored public enthusiasm for cancer screening has suggested that the public may be overly enthusiastic about being screened with certain tests, and this has been attributed, in part, to lack of knowledge about the risks and benefits. In this article the authors considered the possibility that some people may be enthusiastic about screening even when they are informed and also accept that the test unquestionably does not save lives. Two studies were conducted, one that involved a nationally representative U.S. sample and another that involved an online convenience sample. All participants were asked whether they would want to receive a hypothetical screening test for breast (women) or prostate (men) cancer that does not reduce the chance of cancer death or extend the length of life. Over half of participants wanted to receive the described screening test. Many people did not believe that cancer screening might not save lives, yet screening preferences were not due to disbelief alone. Results further suggested that cancer worry, reassurance, and a desire for health information explained variance in preferences for unbeneficial screening, adjusting for beliefs about screening benefits, perceptions of screening risks, family history, perceptions of cancer risk, and demographics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)