High false positive rates associated with screening for breast cancer in the United States have an unintended psychological consequence for women (Lerman et al., 1991) that has raised concerns in recent years (Sox, 1998). This study uses inductive qualitative analysis of open-ended interviews with 45 African American women living in New York City who were part of a larger study of women and their experiences after receiving an abnormal mammogram. Themes resulting from the analyses included: inadequate provider-patient communication, anxieties exacerbated by waiting and wondering, and fears of iatrogenic effects of follow-up tests such as biopsies and repeat mammograms. While more research is needed on message-framing strategies for women entering mammographic testing and follow-up, modest changes in service delivery such as improved medical communication can help to alleviate fears and enhance trust.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer screening
- Psychological distress
- Qualitative analysis
- Women's health