Women are severely impacted by the false alarm of potentially having breast cancer even years after they were proven to not have breast cancer, says a new study.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that even though women after follow-up examinations are declared healthy, they are so affected by the first message that they still show signs of stress and depression several years after the false alarm.
"The findings show that facing a potential breast cancer diagnosis has a negative effect," said Bruno Heleno from the research unit for general practice, University of Copenhagen. Doctors had believed that women who only had to undergo physical examinations or additional mammography would feel mentally better than women who had to undergo biopsy or surgery.
It now turns out that there is no difference between having to undergo a physical examination or surgery. "Being told that you may have cancer is what affects, stresses and worries you," Heleno added.
Researchers call for improving screening accuracy, thus reducing the number of false-positive mammograms.
The paper was published in the scientific journal Annals of Family Medicine.