Detection of breast cancer after biopsy for false-positive screening mammography. An increased risk?

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2001 Feb;27(1):17-20. doi: 10.1053/ejso.2000.1045.


Introduction: After false-positive screening for breast cancer, women are still at risk of developing breast cancer. In this study the incidence of breast cancer in a group of women who had a false-positive outcome is compared with the expected breast cancer incidence.

Methods: Follow-up data of 188 women (mean age 58 years) with a false-positive screening result were collected and analysed for breast cancer development. The mean length of follow-up in the study was 7.4 years. The occurrence of breast cancer was compared to the expected incidence of breast cancer in an age-matched control population using figures from the local cancer registration.

Results: The occurrence of breast cancer in the study population (n=7) was not significantly different from the expected incidence of breast cancer in the age-matched control group (n=5).

Conclusion: There is no relationship between false-positive findings during breast cancer screening and later development of breast cancer. Patients who do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer (due to family history) should not be followed-up clinically, but should be returned to the screening programme.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors