False breast cancer alarm may still cause psychological strain

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According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have found that a false breast cancer alarm may still result in severe psychological strain.

For the study, researchers followed 1,300 women who all received mammography screenings that required follow-up examinations.

Participants completed five questionnaires about their experiences and attitudes. Results showed that women were severely impacted by the false alarm of potentially having breast cancer even years after they were proven to not have breast cancer. Specifically, women showed signs of depression and stress many years after the false alarm.

The findings suggest that the number of false-positive mammograms needs to be reduced and women undergoing a mammography should be informed of the psychological consequences of screening.

The study did not take into account the social and financial conditions of the participants that may have impacted the women's mental state.

Prognosis for women with breast cancer is not worse for those with a family history of the disease
A false breast cancer alarm may still result in severe psychological strain.
The psychological strain of being told that you may have breast cancer may be severe, even if it turns out later to be a false alarm.
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