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Cohort study
Some more evidence of long-term psychosocial harms from receiving false-positive screening mammography results
  1. Jessica DeFrank1,
  2. Noel T Brewer2
  1. 1 Research Center for Excellence in Clinical Preventive Services, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;
  2. 2 Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Jessica DeFrank, Research Center for Excellence in Clinical Preventive Services, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 27599 North Carolina, USA; jessica_defrank{at}unc.edu

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A systematic review published 6 years ago concluded that receiving false-positive mammography results had harmful and long-term psychosocial consequences.13 At the time, the harms of screening tests were well known only to researchers, some groups in charge of various guidelines and, perhaps, a few journalists. The world has fundamentally changed. Today we have social movements, like ‘Choosing Wisely’ and entire books, like ‘Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health’, that are devoted to helping the public understand that screening tests can harm as well as help. Harms from screening tests are potentially a very large problem. In the USA, around half of women screened by mammography regularly over a 10-year period can expect to receive abnormal results at least once, and 9 in …

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