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False positive results may discourage future treatment

Some North Carolina women may be more likely to skip or delay a mammogram after receiving a false positive on a previous test. A false positive may occur when a imaging or a biopsy rules out cancer after finding an aberration on the breast during a mammogram. According to one doctor, 30 percent of cases may be missed if a woman over 50 skips one test every other year.

A study of the issue was led by the manager of patient-centered outcomes research at an Illinois hospital. His team looked at more than 740,000 screening mammograms conducted on roughly 262,000 women in the Chicago area. Of the mammograms studied, 12 percent came back with a false positive. The research indicated that 22 percent of those who received a false positive did not have future mammograms in the database. That was compared to 15 percent who had received a negative result.

Women with multiple mammograms in the database were 36 percent more likely to get screened within three years of their first test after receiving a negative result. The research indicated that women who received a false positive had a 0.4 percent chance of being diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer within four years. That number was 0.3 percent for those who had received a false positive test result.

Those who are diagnosed with a condition that they do not have may end up with a worsened medical condition related to another actual illness that indeed is present. People in this position may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to see what recourse they might have.

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