Objectives: While a previous meta-analysis found that false-positive mammography results affect women's likelihood of returning for screening, effects on well being have yet to be meta-analyzed. We investigated whether the effects of false-positive mammograms on women's well-being are limited to outcomes specific to breast cancer.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE for studies of the psychosocial effects of false-positive results of routine screening mammography. We pooled effect sizes using random effects meta-analysis.
Results: Across 17 studies (n=20781), receiving a false-positive mammogram the result was associated with differences in all eight breast-cancer-specific outcomes that we examined. These included greater anxiety and distress about breast cancer as well as more frequent breast self-exams and higher perceived effectiveness of screening mammography. False positives were associated with only one of six generic outcomes (i.e. generalized anxiety), and this effect size was small.
Conclusions: False-positive mammograms influenced women's well-being, but the effects were limited to breast-cancer-specific outcomes. Researchers should include disease-specific measures in future studies of the consequences of false-positive mammograms.
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.