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A comparison of colorectal neoplasia screening tests: a multicentre community-based study of the impact of consumer choice

Glenn P Salkeld, Jane M Young and Michael J Solomon
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (4): 237-239.
Published online: 21 August 2006

In reply: Taupin and Corbett contend that the “choice paradox” reported by the MACS Group study argues against decision-support systems to allow informed choice of screening options. That would be true if the purpose of informed choice was simply to increase participation in screening.1 Our point is that the purpose of informed choice is to support an ethical basis for individuals’ decisions about screening.2,3 This can occur within the single-test modality (faecal occult blood tests) of the national screening program. It would be desirable to have decision-support systems embedded in a doctor–patient consultation. But this may not be feasible in terms of screenee access to a general practitioner, nor affordable for the Australian Government — hence our call for a self-directed decision-support system as an adjunct to a doctor-guided system. This is one way of applying the principle that patients should be given unbiased information on the benefits and harms of screening that enables them to make an informed choice about their own participation in screening.4

  • Glenn P Salkeld1
  • Jane M Young2
  • Michael J Solomon2

  • 1 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: glenns@health.usyd.edu.au

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