Enhancing Citizen Engagement in Cancer Screening Through Deliberative Democracy14 January 2015
Cancer screening is widely practiced and participation is promoted by various social, technical, and commercial drivers, but there are growing concerns about the emerging harms, risks, and costs of cancer screening. Deliberative democracy methods engage citizens in dialogue on substantial and complex problems: especially when evidence and values are important and people need time to understand and consider the relevant issues. Information derived from such deliberations can provide important guidance to cancer screening policies: citizens’ values are made explicit, revealing what really matters to people and why. Policy makers can see what informed, rather than uninformed, citizens would decide on the provision of services and information on cancer screening. Caveats can be elicited to guide changes to existing policies and practices. Policies that take account of citizens’ opinions through a deliberative democracy process can be considered more legitimate, justifiable, and feasible than those that don’t.