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J Cancer Epidemiol. 2012;2012:545062. doi: 10.1155/2012/545062. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Worry is good for breast cancer screening: a study of female relatives from the ontario site of the breast cancer family registry.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 3L9.



Few prospective studies have examined associations between breast cancer worry and screening behaviours in women with elevated breast cancer risks based on family history.


This study included 901 high familial risk women, aged 23-71 years, from the Ontario site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. Self-reported breast screening behaviours at year-one followup were compared between women at low (N = 305), medium (N = 433), and high (N = 163) levels of baseline breast cancer worry using logistic regression. Nonlinear relationships were assessed using likelihood ratio tests.


A significant non-linear inverted "U" relationship was observed between breast cancer worry and mammography screening (P = 0.034) for all women, where women at either low or high worry levels were less likely than those at medium to have a screening mammogram. A similar significant non-linear inverted "U" relationship was also found among all women and women at low familial risk for worry and screening clinical breast examinations (CBEs).


Medium levels of cancer worries predicted higher rates of screening mammography and CBE among high-risk women.

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