False-Positive Screening Mammogram Increases Cancer Risk

December 9, 2015
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

False-positive screening mammograms with recommendations for further evaluation could be a predictor for future breast cancers.

Women who have a had a history of false-positive screening mammography are at an increased risk of breast cancer for at least 10 years, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and California undertook a study to determine if false positive mammography results provided any insight into future diagnosis of breast cancer. Data were obtained from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

The study included women aged 40 to 74 who had undergone a screening mammogram and received a false-positive result, with a recommendation for additional imaging, recommendation for biopsy, or true-negative with no cancer within one year following the examination. The data included 12,022,560 person-years of follow-up.

The researchers found that 48,735 cancers were diagnosed during the follow-up period. The women with a false-positive mammography with additional imaging recommendations, as well as those with biopsy recommendations, had an increased risk of developing breast cancer over those with a true-negative examination. Breast tissue density among the women with false-negative tests did not affect results, with the exception of women who had entirely fatty breasts.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"44015","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_2727440957936","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"4896","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 107px; width: 160px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 2px; float: right;","title":"©zlikovec/Shutterstock.com","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

“Women with a false-positive result had persistently increased risk of developing breast cancer 10 years after the false-positive examination,” the authors wrote.

The authors concluded that the increased risk of breast cancer among women who had false-positive screenings with recommendations for further imaging or biopsy could be useful for risk prediction models.

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