Psychological distress associated with organized breast cancer screening

Cancer Prev Control. 1998 Oct;2(5):213-20.


Regular breast cancer screening with the use of mammography for asymptomatic women is the most effective method for the early detection of breast cancer. Although the health and economic implications of breast cancer screening have received a great deal of attention, the psychological consequences of attending a breast screening program that includes mammography have been largely ignored. This article briefly reviews 10 studies that have examined the psychological distress associated with organized breast cancer screening. Anxiety appears to be the most prevalent consequence of mammography and seems to affect certain subgroups, with the most significant effects being among those women requiring further investigation because of abnormal results. The results of these studies, the research methods used and future directions in this area are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors