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October 18, 1995

Attitudes About Cancer Screening: Dinnertime Bias

Author Affiliations

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Hanover, NH

JAMA. 1995;274(15):1200. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530150024025

To the Editor.  —Dr Kottke and colleagues1 continue to contribute substantially to our understanding of how to enhance cancer early-detection services. However, their conclusion that women in the population studied are "ambivalent to participating in cancer detection programs" bears careful scrutiny.Telephone solicitation is an irritating part of life in the 1990s. Such calls typically come to my house during dinner. If a telephone surveyor engaged me for 10 minutes, I'd be anxious to get back to my dinner. In particular, I'd want to avoid similar telephone intrusions anytime soon. If, in concluding, the surveyor asked me if I wanted to be contacted by my physician when I next needed a cancer early-detection test, I'd say no. I would be afraid that the physician would call me during dinner too. I propose that this represents dinnertime bias.It's a different story in the examination room or in reviewing the

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