“False Alarm” Mammography Results–how do Women React?

Luce, Mary Frances

Most preventive care guidelines recommend that women aged 40 and older receive a mammogram every 1-2 years to screen for breast cancer. While much research has focused on the factors that influence a woman’s decision to obtain a mammogram, less is known about the factors that influence a woman to return for subsequent mammograms at regular intervals. The vast majority of positive mammograms turn out to be false alarms— meaning that further testing reveals that the woman does not have breast cancer. This Issue Brief summarizes work by marketing scientists that explores the psychological effects of false-positive mammograms, and the potential impact on a woman’s willingness to be retested in the future.

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