Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Breast. 2011 Oct;20(5):424-30. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 May 25.

Psychological impact of recall on women with BRCA mutations undergoing MRI surveillance.

Author information

Division of Medical Oncology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada.



The addition of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to mammography for surveillance of women with BRCA mutations significantly increases sensitivity but lowers specificity. This study aimed to examine whether MRI surveillance, and particularly recall, is associated with increased anxiety, depression, or breast cancer worry/distress.


Women with BRCA mutations in an MRI surveillance study were invited to complete: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Lerman's Breast Cancer Worry Scale, Breast Cancer Worry Interference Scale, and a quality of life rating at 3 time points: 1-2 weeks before (T1), 4-6 weeks after (T2) and 6 months after their annual surveillance (T3). Repeated measures analyses were performed over the 3 time points for recalled and non-recalled women.


55 women (30 BRCA1, 25 BRCA2) completed study instruments at T1 and T2, and 48 at T3. Eighteen women (32%) were recalled for additional imaging. At T1, 27 women (49%) were above HADS threshold for "possible cases" for anxiety (score≥8). Recalled (but not non-recalled) women had a significant increase of HADS anxiety at T2 which dropped to below baseline by T3. No group differences were observed in terms of change over time in other quantitative psychological measures.


While breast MRI surveillance did not have a detrimental psychological impact on women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, recalling these very high-risk women for further imaging after a false positive MRI scan temporarily increased their global anxiety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center