Short- and long-term anxiety and depression in women recalled after breast cancer screening

Eur J Cancer. 2001 Mar;37(4):463-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(00)00426-3.


The aim was to investigate the psychological consequences of further investigation after breast cancer screening. Study participants include 509 women (61%) recalled due to suspicious findings on screening mammograms, and a matched control group of 285 women (68%) with normal mammograms. Psychological distress was prospectively assessed with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). 46% of the women reported borderline or clinically significant anxiety prior to the recall visit. A few days after the visit, anxiety and depression had decreased significantly (P<0.01) in women informed about normal or benign results at the recall clinic, while reported distress remained at relatively high levels in women referred to surgical biopsy. The results demonstrate the adverse short-term effect of a delay in receiving false-positive results, but do not indicate that the recall experience results in long-term anxiety or depression for a majority of women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods
  • Mammography / psychology
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors