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Breast Cancer Screening Reassuring for At-Risk Women

Young women with family history of the disease have positive view of mammograms

MONDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Young women with a family history of breast cancer are reassured by annual mammograms and take false positive results in stride, according to a report published in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Joan Austoker, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,286 women under 50 years of age with a family history of breast cancer, of whom 1,174 received an immediate all-clear result, and 112 were recalled for additional tests before receiving an all-clear result. The women filled in a questionnaire regarding their level of worry about cancer, perceived benefits of screening and psychological effects of the process.

The women who were immediately declared clear worried less about cancer while those in the recall group did not. However, both groups reported similar, significant reductions in cancer-specific distress at the six-month mark. Overall, the women who were recalled were more positive about the advantages of screening versus those who received an immediate all-clear.

"Participating in annual mammography screening is psychologically beneficial to the majority of women who receive an immediate all-clear result," the authors conclude. As for women who received false positive results "their positive views about mammographic screening would suggest they view any distress caused by recall as an acceptable part of screening."

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