The psychological impact of a false-positive screening mammogram in barcelona

Rebecca Espasa, Cristiane Murta-Nascimento, Ramón Bayés, Maria Sala, Montserrat Casamitjana, Francesc MacIà, Xavier Castells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to ascertain the psychological impact of mammographic screening for women who receive negative results and for those who need additional non-invasive and invasive complementary investigations to exclude breast cancer (false positives). One hundred fifty women who attended a breast cancer screening programme in Barcelona, aged 50-69 years, were included in this study: 50 with negative results and 100 with false positive mammograms (50 underwent non-invasive and 50 underwent invasive complementary investigations). Participants worried little until they underwent mammography, but worries increased when a telephone call notified the women of the need for further testing. A substantial proportion of women requiring further assessment reported that they were at least somewhat worried about having breast cancer throughout the screening process (P < 0.0001). Nevertheless, levels of anxiety and depression, measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, showed no statistically significant differences among the three groups. In conclusion, although the women showed no psychological morbidity, there is a substantial psychological response in those with an abnormal screening mammogram. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-785
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Emotions
  • False positive results
  • Mammography
  • Mass screening
  • Psychology


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