A review of studies examining stated preferences for cancer screening.
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INTRODUCTION: Stated preference studies for cancer screening programs are used to understand how the programs can be improved to maximize usage. Our objectives were to conduct a systematic review of stated preference studies for cancer screening, identify gaps in the literature, and determine which types of research should be conducted in the future. METHODS: We considered all studies in the PubMed database through May 2005 that measured utility-based stated preferences for cancer screening using contingent valuation or conjoint analysis. We abstracted data on 1) study characteristics and 2) study results and policy implications. RESULTS: We found eight (of 84 identified) preference studies for cancer screening. The most commonly studied cancer was breast cancer, and the most commonly used method was contingent valuation. We found no studies for prostate cancer or physician preferences. Studies demonstrated that although individuals are able to state their preferences for cancer screening, they do not weigh test benefits and harms, and a significant percentage would choose to have no screening at all. Several studies found that test accuracy and reduction in mortality risk were important for determining preferences. CONCLUSION: Few studies of cancer screening preferences exist. The available studies examine only a few types of cancer and do not explore practice and policy implications in depth. The results of this review will be useful in identifying the focus of future research, identifying which screening methods may be more preferred to increase use of the programs, and developing interventions and policies that could facilitate informed and shared decision making for screening.
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