Short-Term Anxiety Up With False-Positive Mammogram
Anna N.A. Tosteson, ScD, from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Lebanon, NH, and colleagues measured the effect of false-positive mammograms on quality of life by measuring personal anxiety, health utility, and attitudes toward future screening. Randomly selected Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial participants (1,226 women; with positive and negative mammograms) were surveyed via telephone shortly after screening and one year later (1,028 women).
The researchers found that anxiety was significantly higher for women with false-positive mammograms, but health utility scores did not differ and at one year there were no significant differences between groups. The groups differed by future screening intentions (25.7% vs.14.2% more likely in false-positive versus negative groups), with significantly increased future screening intention among women with false-positive mammograms (odds ratio [OR], 2.12). Future screening was also significantly higher in those with younger age (OR, 2.78) and poorer health (OR, 1.63).
"False-positive mammograms increased women's intention to undergo future breast cancer screening and did not increase their stated willingness to travel to avoid a false-positive result," the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the imaging industry.