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Provista Blog > What Are the Costs of False Positive and False Negative Results?

Provista Blog

What Are the Costs of False Positive and False Negative Results?

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on December 7, 2016

How do false positive results, false negative results and overdiagnosis of breast cancer impact you and your patients? By going through each issue, this post will address why we must avoid missing a diagnosis and overdiagnosing breast cancer.

False Positive Results:

The financial burden of further diagnostic workup associated with false positive mammograms includes out-of-pocket expenses and emotional anxiety on patients and their families. This is of particular concern to women who fall into the "gray zone" or have dense breasts. The consequences of false positive results can be numerous due to the cascade of diagnostic procedures that often occur, including ultrasound and MRI and/or biopsy.

Each year 3.2 million women receive a false positive mammogram, which translates to a national cost of 2.8 billion annually.

Learn more by reading the latest article in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

False Negative Results:

The stage at which breast cancer is diagnosed significantly impacts the overall cost of related care as well as a woman's chance of survival. A false negative result can delay a woman’s diagnosis, which requires more aggressive and expensive treatment (costs can include out-of-pocket expenses in addition to treatment expenses). Not to mention the anxiety patients and their families go through at the hand of a missed diagnoses.

Learn About The Challenges of Detecting Breast Cancer In Our Latest Guide


The New England Journal of Medicine article, "Breast-Cancer Tumor Size, over diagnosis, and Mammography Screening Effectiveness” agrees that breast cancer overdiagnosis is defined as “the diagnosis of a breast lesion that is unlikely to become clinically evident during the lifetime of the patient, exposing them to the harm of over treatment”. Overdiagnosis of breast cancer contributes to approximately 22 to 31 percent of all diagnoses.

Annually, the costs of overdiagnosis amount to 1.2 billion due to the healthcare system.

Is There a Way to Avoid These Results?

The impact of these results means a diagnostic tool is needed to help reduce the number of of false positive and false negative results and over diagnoses. A tool that helps in this reduction would financially help, not only patients but the healthcare system as a whole and relieve unnecessary anxiety from patients and their families.

Read more about overdiagnosis and the impact to the healthcare system in the Breast Cancer Detection eBook, here

Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.