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1.  The effectiveness of a graphical presentation in addition to a frequency format in the context of familial breast cancer risk communication: a multicenter controlled trial 
Background
Inadequate understanding of risk among counselees is a common problem in familial cancer clinics. It has been suggested that graphical displays can help counselees understand cancer risks and subsequent decision-making. We evaluated the effects of a graphical presentation in addition to a frequency format on counselees’ understanding, psychological well-being, and preventive intentions.
Design: Multicenter controlled trial.
Setting: Three familial cancer clinics in the Netherlands.
Methods
Participants: Unaffected women with a breast cancer family history (first-time attendees).
Intervention: Immediately after standard genetic counseling, an additional consultation by a trained risk counselor took place where women were presented with their lifetime breast cancer risk in frequency format (X out of 100) (n = 63) or frequency format plus graphical display (10 × 10 human icons) (n = 91).
Main outcome measures: understanding of risk (risk accuracy, risk perception), psychological well-being, and intentions regarding cancer prevention. Measurements were assessed using questionnaires at baseline, 2-week and 6-month follow-up.
Results
Baseline participant characteristics did not differ between the two groups. In both groups there was an increase in women’s risk accuracy from baseline to follow-up. No significant differences were found between women who received the frequency format and those who received an additional graphical display in terms of understanding, psychological well-being and intentions regarding cancer prevention. The groups did not differ in their evaluation of the process of counseling.
Conclusion
Women’s personal risk estimation accuracy was generally high at baseline and the results suggest that an additional graphical display does not lead to a significant benefit in terms of increasing understanding of risk, psychological well-being and preventive intentions.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials http://ISRCTN14566836
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-55
PMCID: PMC3644257  PMID: 23627498
Breast cancer; Genetic counseling; Risk communication; Risk perception; Cancer worry; Decision-making; Graphical display
2.  Design of the BRISC study: a multicentre controlled clinical trial to optimize the communication of breast cancer risks in genetic counselling 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:283.
Background
Understanding risks is considered to be crucial for informed decision-making. Inaccurate risk perception is a common finding in women with a family history of breast cancer attending genetic counseling. As yet, it is unclear how risks should best be communicated in clinical practice. This study protocol describes the design and methods of the BRISC (Breast cancer RISk Communication) study evaluating the effect of different formats of risk communication on the counsellee's risk perception, psychological well-being and decision-making regarding preventive options for breast cancer.
Methods and design
The BRISC study is designed as a pre-post-test controlled group intervention trial with repeated measurements using questionnaires. The intervention-an additional risk consultation-consists of one of 5 conditions that differ in the way counsellee's breast cancer risk is communicated: 1) lifetime risk in numerical format (natural frequencies, i.e. X out of 100), 2) lifetime risk in both numerical format and graphical format (population figures), 3) lifetime risk and age-related risk in numerical format, 4) lifetime risk and age-related risk in both numerical format and graphical format, and 5) lifetime risk in percentages. Condition 6 is the control condition in which no intervention is given (usual care). Participants are unaffected women with a family history of breast cancer attending one of three participating clinical genetic centres in the Netherlands.
Discussion
The BRISC study allows for an evaluation of the effects of different formats of communicating breast cancer risks to counsellees. The results can be used to optimize risk communication in order to improve informed decision-making among women with a family history of breast cancer. They may also be useful for risk communication in other health-related services.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN14566836.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-283
PMCID: PMC2576334  PMID: 18834503

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