Women who receive a false positive breast cancer screening result are more likely to develop the disease in the subsequent 20 years, according to a new study.
The risk is highest amongst women aged between 60 and 75 and who have low breast density, say scientists.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden identified 45,213 women who received a false positive result and 452,130 women of the same age who were not recalled after attending a mammography.
The findings, published in JAMA Oncology, show the risk of developing breast cancer was the highest four to six years following a false positive result.
Dr. Xinhe Mao, of the Karolinska Institutet, said: “The elevated risk was higher in women in the 60-75 age-bracket than in the 40-49 age-bracket, and in women with low rather than high mammographic density.
“It’s important to accentuate a long-term awareness of breast cancer in women who get false positive mammography results.
“It might be beneficial to draw up personal monitoring programs for these women with careful follow-ups over the years immediately following.”
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women around the world, with screening being an important tool for catching women with a tumor at an early stage.
In Sweden, all women between 40 and 74 are invited for screening at 18 to 24-month intervals.
At each screening visit, approximately three percent of the women will receive a false positive result.
They are then recalled for further examination without any cancer diagnosis.
The study formed part of Miss Mao’s doctoral thesis, who will now continue her research with the aim to motivate more women to undergo regular mammography screening.
Professor Kamila Czene at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, added:
“Radiology and breast cancer screening are currently in a phase of rapid development, partly thanks to the use of AI.
“Our published paper is part of the general efforts to achieve better screening results and increase the screening program uptake.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker