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Women don't go back for mammograms after false positives

Many Pennsylvania women undergo regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer. If a woman receives a false-positive result from a mammogram, she may believe that she has cancer until further tests reveal that she does not. A study has found that the trauma of such a false-positive result may cause many women to skip subsequent mammograms.

A team of researchers from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois conducted the study on false-positive mammograms. The researchers looked at over 741,000 mammograms that were performed in the Chicago area for nearly 262,000 women. According to the study, over 12 percent of the mammograms had yielded a result that turned out to be a false positive. Mammograms may produce false-positive results when they show an abnormality that looks like cancer but is not.

Researchers found that the women who were analyzed in the study were less likely to return for a subsequent mammogram after receiving a false-positive result. While 15 percent of the women who had received a negative result did not come back for another mammogram, 22 percent of women who had received a false-positive result did not come back for another one. Among women who did receive a second mammogram after a false-positive result, there was an average delay between mammograms of 13 months.

Sometimes a misdiagnosis is not caught before a patient undergoes unnecessary treatments. If a patient was seriously harmed after being misdiagnosed with cancer, the patient may be able to pursue financial compensation from the healthcare providers that were responsible. People in this position may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to learn about their options.

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