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A false-positive on screening mammography has a negative psychosocial impact up to 3 years after receiving the all clear

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Question: What are the psychosocial effects of a screening mammography false-positive result for breast cancer?

Population: A total of 1362 women aged 50–69 years who had breast screening mammography in a public programme. All 590 women in this age group who had abnormal findings and were recalled for further testing were asked to participate and 454 (76.9%) agreed. A control group of 908 women was selected by matching each of these women with two women who were screened on the same day and had normal results. Of the 454 women with abnormal screening results, 8 were excluded (other cancers or unknown final diagnosis), 174 (38.3%) had breast cancer and 272 (59.9%) had a false-positive result. Of the 908 women selected for the normal finding group, 864 were included in analyses.

Setting: Copenhagen and Funen, Denmark; screening performed between June 2004 and June 2005.

Prognostic factors: False-positive mammography screening result.

Outcomes: Psychosocial consequences (Consequences of Screening in Breast Cancer questionnaire, (COS-BC)). COS-BC part I measures were completed at baseline, these …

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  • Sources of funding: Danish General Practitioners Foundation, The Danish Cancer Association, Helsefonden and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.


  • Competing interests None.