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Annual Screening Mammography Results in More False Positive Results, Study

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Mammography newsAccording to a new study, more than 50% of women undergoing annual mammography screening in the US receive false positive results. Women receive at least 1 false positive result at least during a10-years duration. In addition, 7-9% of women go for a biopsy which later shows that they were cancer-free.

The research team said that annual mammography screening reduces breast cancer risk by almost 1/3. Yet, even with annual mammography screening, some cancers are still diagnosed at late stages. The study is highlighted in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The research team of the study reviewed data coming from a large breast cancer registry. The data belonged to nearly 169,000 women, between 40-59 years, in seven areas across the US.

Rebecca Hubbard, from the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, one of the research team of the study, said "What we found was more than half of women participating in annual screening would have a false positive after 10 years," adding "The risks (of a false positive) are decreased by a third with biannual screening compared to annual after 10 years,"

The study showed that in 10-years time, mammography screening year after year instead of annually reduced the false positive results of breast cancer to 42% instead of 61%. In addition, the women who begun undergoing mammography screening at the age of 40 had more chances to receive false positive results than women at 50.

Dr. Hubbard commented on the results of the study saying that "I think it gives us quantification of risks and benefits so when individuals consider how frequently to screen they can think of what their risk of cancer is and what their risk tolerance is for potentially getting a false positive,"


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