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False positives may cause anxiety in women

Category: Breast

Breast cancer testing is the most reliable way for women to find out if they have a tumor at an early stage when it is still treatable. However, it is not an exact science, and sometimes doctors may find abnormalities that never develop into cancer, a so-called false positive.

Now a group of researchers is calling on medical professionals to warn women of the risk of this, as their study results indicate that false positives can cause an undue amount of worry and stress in women.

Researchers from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Tilburg, Netherlands, spoke to 385 women who received breast cancer tests that showed abnormalities. A total of 152 of these women developed breast cancer, while the remaining 233 did not.

In talking with the women who remained cancer-free, the researchers found that the majority were extremely anxious about their condition and that this impacted their quality of life. The study authors said that warning women about the risk of a false-positive breast cancer test may alleviate much of this anxiety.

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