This study explored risk perceptions after breast cancer risk appraisal. The study involved a randomized trial of Women's Health clinic patients (< 40 years old). Primary outcome was perceived breast cancer risk at baseline, 1 month, 6 months, and 18 months. Perceived breast cancer risks were higher than actual calculated risks at baseline. At baseline, 45% reported moderate/strong risk and 43% reported lower-than-average risk; 53% said that their risk was lower than 15%. Mean perceived lifetime risk was 31 out of 100. Throughout follow-up, the treatment group reported lower risks by all measures, as compared to controls. However, for African American women, perceived risk "out of 100 women" did not change. A brief health risk appraisal tends to lower breast cancer risk perceptions for at least 18 months, but the impact may vary by race/ethnicity. These findings could affect health behaviors, such as annual mammograms, which are influenced by perceived risk.
- Breast cancer
- Health communication
- Risk perceptions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health