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Improving screening recall services for women with false-positive mammograms: a comparison of qualitative evidence with UK guidelines
  1. Mary Bond1,
  2. Ruth Garside2,
  3. Christopher Hyde1
  1. 1University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  2. 2University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Truro, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mary Bond;{at}


Objectives To gain an understanding of the views of women with false-positive screening mammograms of screening recall services, their ideas for service improvements and how these compare with current UK guidelines.

Methods Inductive qualitative content analysis of semistructured interviews of 21 women who had false-positive screening mammograms. These were then compared with UK National Health Service (NHS) guidelines.

Results Participants’ concerns about mammography screening recall services focused on issues of communication and choice. Many of the issues raised indicated that the 1998 NHS Breast Screening Programme guidelines on improving the quality of written information sent to women who are recalled, had not been fully implemented. This included being told a clear reason for recall, who may attend with them, the length of appointment, who they will see and what tests will be carried out. Additionally women voiced a need for: reassurance that a swift appointment did not imply they had cancer; choice about invasive assessment or watchful waiting; the offer of a follow-up mammogram for those uncertain about the validity of their all-clear and an extension of the role of the clinical nurse specialist, outlined in the 2012 NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) guidelines, to include availability at the clinic after the all-clear for women with false-positive mammograms.

Conclusions It is time the NHSBSP 1998 recall information guidelines were fully implemented. Additionally, the further suggestions from this research, including extending the role of the clinical nurses from the 2012 NHSBSP guidelines, should be considered. These actions have the potential to reduce the anxiety of being recalled.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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