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Study: Women with abnormal mammograms experience lower QoL and increased anxiety

October 31, 2015

?    State anxiety (temporary anxiety due to a specific situation) accounted for up to 46 per cent of the variance in the BC group. It peaked at six months, but was similar in months one and 12 (32 per cent and 34 per cent).

?    State anxiety levels did not significantly influence QoL in the FP group and trait anxiety levels did not influence QoL in the BC group.

Significantly more diagnostic procedures, including biopsies, were needed in the FP group to reach a final diagnosis. Only 14 per cent of the BC group required four procedures - the other 86 per cent required three - while 32 per cent of the FP group required more than three. Fifty-five per cent of the FP group returned to the outpatient clinic in the first year, some as many as eight times.

The authors believe that the anxiety and lower QoL experienced by women in the FP group were soley due to the recall after screening and the subsequent diagnostic procedures.

"The decision to participate in a screening programme requires balanced information about the potential benefits and dangers" says Dr van der Steeg.

"Women often overestimate their risk of breast cancer and the material provided by healthcare professionals and government agencies often focus on the positive aspects of screening and are not always objective.

"Women deserve more balanced information to help them to chose whether or not to accept a breast screening invitation. This should not only cover the supposed benefits, but explain the potential side-effects of a false-positive, such as the increased feelings of anxiety and reduced QoL found by our study."

Source: Tilburg University