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'False positive' linked to higher risk of breast cancer

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Women who get a "false positive" result following a mammogram are twice as likely to develop breast cancer later in life than those who get a negative result, a study suggests.

Scientists analysed data from more than a million women in Denmark, Norway and Spain screened for breast cancer between 1991 and 2010. Some 113,634 women received a false positive result - when apparent abnormalities are found not to be malignant - with the largest proportion occurring in women aged 50-54.

The research, led by Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona, found those who received one false positive were two times as likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who received a negative result.

They remained at an elevated risk for over a decade.

Charity Breast Cancer Now chief executive Delyth Morgan said: "This suggests a 'false positive' result may be able to act as a marker for women who could benefit from more frequent screening."

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