Study sees link between false positive, breast cancer

WASHINGTON – Many women deal with the anxiety of a false positive mammogram, then the relief of learning the breast screening for cancer was wrong.

Now there’s another scientific twist to consider.

A Danish study finds that women who had false positive breast cancer screenings had a 67 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

A doctor tells ABC News the reasons behind the link are unclear, but women who have a family history of breast cancer are more likely to have a false positive.

“It’s so subjective,” Dr. Susan Love, president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, told ABC News, referring to a radiologist’s decision to follow up a suspicious mammogram with a biopsy. “If you had a mother with breast cancer, the radiologist and … probably you yourself would be more aggressive in following up any slightly suspicious abnormality in a screening mammogram.”

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74.

WTOP’s Mitchell Miller contributed to this report. Follow Mitchell and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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