Screening behavior of women after a false-positive mammogram

Radiology. 1998 Jul;208(1):245-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.208.1.9646820.


Purpose: To determine the effect of a false-positive mammogram that leads to open surgical biopsy on subsequent screening mammography behavior in women.

Materials and methods: This study was performed with a retrospective cohort design, and data were collected by means of telephone interview. All participants were women aged at least 50 years, with no history of breast cancer. Study patients (n = 43) were women who had an abnormal mammogram followed within 6 months by benign excisional breast biopsy. Control subjects (n = 136) were randomly selected: They included women with a normal mammogram who had not undergone biopsy, as well as women with an abnormal mammogram and the recommendation to undergo 6-month follow-up mammography.

Results: Two differences between the study and control groups were statistically significant. Study patients were more likely than control patients to believe they had increased susceptibility to breast cancer (P = .039). Study patients were also more likely than control subjects to intend to undergo screening mammography annually in the future (P = .036).

Conclusion: A false-positive mammogram that leads to open surgical biopsy does not inhibit most women from undergoing subsequent screening mammography. In fact, such an experience may increase their intentions to undergo regular screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires