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The history of cancer screening has demonstrated that the case for cancer screening is not straightforward. In contemporary practice, sharing decision-making with patients has become expected of family physicians. At the same time, increasing emphasis has been placed on encouraging patients to participate in screening programs to improve cancer outcomes. The success of cancer screening is often judged by the number of those who participate. Improving cancer outcomes should be a priority for family medicine, but the importance of this goal should not undermine doctors' commitment to helping patients make informed decisions that are consistent with their values and priorities. If we are serious about empowering patients, we need to be more open about the limitations of cancer screening, to help patients make up their minds.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

Publication Date





435 - 438