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False-positive mammogram anxiety has limited impact on women's well-being
Date:4/22/2014

(Lebanon, NH, 4/22/14). Dartmouth researchers have found that the anxiety experienced with a false-positive mammogram is temporary and does not negatively impact a woman's overall well-being. Their findings are reported in "Consequences of False-Positive Screening Mammograms," which was published online in the April 21, 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine

Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of women who undergo routine screening mammography during a ten-year period will experience a false-positive mammogram. Such mammograms require additional testing, sometimes involving a biopsy, to confirm that cancer is not present. Researchers have suspected that increased anxiety, pain, and the bother of additional tests might adversely affect the quality of life for women who experience false-positive screening mammograms. In this study, Dartmouth researchers used data collected by the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST), which was conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), to study the impact a false-positive mammogram has on women's lives.

"Most policy analyses of breast cancer screening have used assumptions about the harms of screening on health and overall well-being based on expert opinion rather than patient-reported outcomes," said principal author Anna N. A. Tosteson, ScD, James J. Carroll Professor of Medicine, professor of Community and Family Medicine and of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and co-director of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Cancer Control Research Program. "The DMIST study did not support these assumptions, and gave us evidence that a false-positive mammogram experience has a limited impact on women's overall well-being."

The researchers studied personal anxiety and a standard measure of overall health and well-being often used by health economists to evaluate the effectiveness of health intervention
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Contact: Robin Dutcher
Robin.Dutcher@hitchcock.org
603-653-9056
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Source:Eurekalert

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