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LDI Issue Brief. 2003 Feb;8(5):1-4.

"False alarm" mammography results--how do women react?

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  • 1The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA.


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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