Breast cancer worry in further examination of mammography screening--a systematic review

Scand J Caring Sci. 2012 Dec;26(4):773-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00961.x. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Aims: In this systematic review, we explored which factors are associated with breast cancer (BC) worry in further examination (FE) of mammography screening and for how long women experience BC worry associated with FE.

Methods: Medline, Cochrane, Cinahl and the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment databases were used in the search. In addition to this, reference lists of the selected articles were inspected. The subject headings and keywords searched included breast screening, mammography screening, BC worry, distress or anxiety, additional test, further examination and recall. These were used separately and in combination. The databases gave 598 references. From the selected titles, 83 abstracts were read; from these, 23 publications were selected for full-text review. On the basis of full texts, 15 articles were chosen.

Findings: There were very few studies about the associations between FE and BC worry. In those found, the amount of measured variables was limited. BC worry in FE of breast screening was associated with several sociodemographic and psychosocial factors of recalled women, as well as those related to the FE process. About half of the recalled women were quite or very anxious in the prediagnostic phase.

Conclusions: The review gave implications for interventions in the FE process of mammography screening. These interventions should predominantly be made in the preclinical phase and should differ according to the type of recall visit and characteristics of recalled women. In communicating the diagnosis to the women, the time from the examination process to diagnosis should be as short as possible, and in addition to physicians being present, other health care professionals should also be there to ensure the necessary emotional and practical support a woman needs in such a situation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*