Navigation Links
Women with false-positive mammograms report high anxiety and reduced quality of life

Doctors are calling for women to receive more information about the pitfalls of breast cancer screening, as well as the benefits, after some women who received false-positive results faced serious anxiety and reduced quality of life for at least a year.

A study published online by BJS, the British Journal of Surgery, shows that patients with false-positive results - where the mammogram is abnormal but no cancer is present - had to undergo more diagnostic procedures than women with breast cancer before they were given the all clear.

Researchers from The Netherlands spoke to 385 women with abnormal mammogram results - 152 were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer, but the other 233 had false-positive results and did not have cancer.

"Common sense tells us that early detection of breast cancer is good and most screening programmes have been successful in reducing breast cancer deaths" says lead author Dr Lideke van der Steeg from the Department of Surgery, St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, and the Centre of Research and Psychology in Somatic Diseases, Tilburg University.

"However, while some women truly benefit from early detection, others experience harm and unnecessary anxiety. The women who received false-positives in our study experienced a significant reduction in their quality of life, especially if they were prone to anxiety, and the effects of this lasted at least a year.

"In fact, women who had a tendency to be anxious fared much worse if they received a false-positive - which is estimated to happen in 60 per cent of abnormal mammograms - than if they were actually diagnosed with breast cancer."

Women with abnormal mammograms attending three hospitals over a five-year period were invited to participate. Their quality of life (QoL) was assessed using the World Health Organization's Quality of Life instrument 100, which assesses QoL in six domains physical health, psychological health, level of independence, social relationships, environment and spirituality.

Clinical data were obtained from the women's medical records and they were also asked to complete questionnaires providing demographic information such as age, marital status, education and socioeconomic status.

Women in the breast cancer (BC) group were significantly older than the women in the false-positive (FP) group 60.2 years versus 57.3 years. They also had larger tumours than the FP group 17.4mm versus 9.9mm.

The key factors influencing QoL scores differed between the two groups:

  • Trait anxiety (a tendency to experience anxiety) accounted for up to 55 per cent of the variance in the QoL score in the FP group. It reached this peak at three months, but was similar at months one and 12 (43 per cent and 40 per cent respectively).

  • State anxiety (temporary anxiety due to a specific situation) accounted for up to 46 per cent of the variance in the BC group. It peaked at six months, but was similar in months one and 12 (32 per cent and 34 per cent).

  • State anxiety levels did not significantly influence QoL in the FP group and trait anxiety levels did not influence QoL in the BC group.

Significantly more diagnostic procedures, including biopsies, were needed in the FP group to reach a final diagnosis. Only 14 per cent of the BC group required four procedures - the other 86 per cent required three - while 32 per cent of the FP group required more than three. Fifty-five per cent of the FP group returned to the outpatient clinic in the first year, some as many as eight times.

The authors believe that the anxiety and lower QoL experienced by women in the FP group were soley due to the recall after screening and the subsequent diagnostic procedures.

"The decision to participate in a screening programme requires balanced information about the potential benefits and dangers" says Dr van der Steeg.

"Women often overestimate their risk of breast cancer and the material provided by healthcare professionals and government agencies often focus on the positive aspects of screening and are not always objective.

"Women deserve more balanced information to help them to chose whether or not to accept a breast screening invitation. This should not only cover the supposed benefits, but explain the potential side-effects of a false-positive, such as the increased feelings of anxiety and reduced QoL found by our study."


Contact: Annette Whibley

Related medicine news :

1. Men with macho faces attractive to fertile women, researchers find
2. Womens Tears Tell Men to Back Off
3. In Women, Diabetes Plus Depression a Deadly Combo
4. Mothers key to college-age women receiving HPV vaccine
5. Brief clarifies Social Securitys value for women
6. New report provides womens perspectives on medical male circumcision for HIV prevention
7. Women & Infants participating in national research study of new fertility drug
8. Buprenorphine is better than methadone for opioid dependence in pregnant women, study shows
9. Both High, Low Levels of Vitamin D in Older Women May Be Problematic
10. U.S. Failing to Meet Goals for Womens Health: Report
11. Certain Breast Cancer Drugs Linked With Heart Risks in Older Women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... PITTSBURGH, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... scoop often results in wasted time. Fortunately, an inventor from Chesterfield, Va., has found ... SCOOP CLIP to keep the scoop used to measure powdered contents in a canister ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Medicalis, a leading ... Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting, being held November 29 – December ... Throughout 2015, the company has completed installations for Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... new additions to its industry-leading suite of automated breast density assessment and ... America (RSNA) meeting, November 29-December 4, 2015 (South Hall booth #2377). Volpara’s ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... It’s inevitable that everyone will experience death in his or her ... death lives among us. It is your perspective, however, that determines how you view ... author T Sky understands that she may see death more frequently than most. As ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... (AIS) is pleased to announce the speakers for “Value-Based Payer-Provider Partnerships: Three ... learned from three innovative value-based care arrangements: Essentia Health and UCare, MissionPoint ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Next week, December 2-3, BIOMEDevice San Jose ... events covering the latest in Medtech innovation, Wearable Tech, ... more than 3,000 design industry professionals to the ... combined show floor will host more than 300 exhibitors ... --> BIOMEDevice features suppliers in medical ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Nautilus Medical Inc. ... Image Management platform ( ). The release of ... from RSNA 2015 (Radiology Society North America) in ... in the U.S. --> ... that enables access to radiology studies worldwide via a ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... November 30, 2015 ... adds a 2015 publication ... - 2015 with comprehensive analysis of ... of deal types, such as Mergers ... . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: