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Thyroid Cancer Risk Communication in Patients with Thyroid Nodules.

Bagautdinova D, Wang S, Brito JP, Bylund CL, Edwards C, Silver N, Danan D, Treise D, Maraka S, Hargraves I, Singh Ospina N. Thyroid Cancer Risk Communication in Patients with Thyroid Nodules. Journal of Cancer Education : The Official Journal of The American Association For Cancer Education. 2023 Aug 1; 38(4):1234-1240.

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The objective of this study is to evaluate thyroid cancer risk clinician-patient communication among patients receiving usual counseling and counseling enhanced by a conversation aid. A secondary analysis of clinical visit recordings and post-visit surveys obtained during a trial assessing the impact of a conversation aid for patients with thyroid nodules was conducted. We assessed how thyroid cancer risk was communicated, different risk communication strategies between groups, and predictors of accurate cancer risk perception. Fifty-nine patients were analyzed. Most were women (90%) and middle-aged (median 57 years). A verbal description of thyroid cancer risk was present most frequently (83%) and was more frequent in the conversation aid than the usual care group (100% vs. 63%, p < 0.001). A numerical description using percentages was present in 41% of visits and was more frequent in the conversation aid group (59% vs. 19%, p = 0.012). Natural frequencies (7%) and positive/negative framing (10%) were utilized less commonly. Uncertainty about risks was not discussed. No predictors of accurate risk perception were identified. Clinicians most commonly present a verbal description of thyroid cancer risk. Less commonly, natural frequencies, negative/positive framing, or uncertainty is discussed. Clinicians caring for patients with thyroid nodules should be aware of different strategies for communicating thyroid cancer risk.

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