An alarming new report about mammograms has major implications for women who get themselves examined.
Scientists have just released a concerning new report about mammograms that suggests that women who get false positive results at a screening are less likely to get re-tested within the next year, a major concern that the medical community may need to address to battle breast cancer. The study examined 250,000 women and was conducted by researchers from the Russell Institute for Research and Innovation at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
Specifically, the study found that 50 percent of women who get a false positive out of a mammogram decide not to return for another screening for about 25 months, which is about twice as long as doctors recommend. Compare that to women who get a tru enegative and return after just 15 months, only two months later than doctors recommend, according to a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.
A false positive is when the mammogram suggests that there is something strange that warrants further examination, but often doctors find no breast cancer. However, it can often be traumatic to the individual who thinks she may have contracted cancer when in reality she has not, leading her to avoid that trauma again in the future.
“This [the fact that having a false positive screening mammogram caused women to delay coming back for their next screen] suggests that we need to more actively encourage women who have a false positive result from a screening mammogram to adhere to routine screening mammography recommendations because it has been shown to reduce breast cancer mortality,” said Firas M. Dabbous, PhD, manager of patient centered outcomes research at the Russell Institute for Research & Innovation at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.
“Because we obtained the same conclusion using two different statistical approaches to analyze the data, we have a high degree of confidence in the results,” continued Dabbous. “We believe that the delay in subsequent screening for women who have an initial false positive result increases the probability that they will subsequently receive a later-stage breast cancer diagnosis compared with women who first have a true negative result from a screening mammogram.”