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Mammography and Anxiety: Patient Assessment, Treatment, and Holistic Therapeutic Options

Brian R. Keller, BA and Kevin D. Evans, PhD, RT(R)(M)(BD), RDMS, RVS; updated by Linda Giering, PhD

*Assistant to the Director of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University-College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio.
Professor/Chair, Radiologic Sciences and Therapy Division, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Medical Writer, Matawan, New Jersey.

Address correspondence to: Brian R. Keller, BA, Assistant to the Director of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University-College of Medicine, 453 W 10th Avenue, 243D Atwell Hall, Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail: Brian.Keller@osumc.edu.

Disclosure statements: The authors report having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Awareness of patient anxiety about breast cancer warrants clinician and mammographer patient care strategies that can be implemented within medical facilities to address this issue. Levels of anxiety among female patients may vary depending upon where they are in the breast cancer screening and diagnosis spectrum. Many women facing a potential positive breast cancer diagnosis experience anxiety, the effects of which can potentially have a negative effect on their quality of life. Creating a hospitable and comfortable environment and opportunities to communicate clearly and effectively with healthcare providers within the mammography office can help alleviate this anxiety. Timely follow-up is also an important component of managing anxiety in this population. Anxiety can also lead to stress, chronic pain, fatigue, and depression, as well as other anxiety and depression disorders. Increased anxiety in patients with breast cancer has also has been linked to anxiety within those close to the patient. Managing patient anxiety is important and healthcare providers and breast imaging technologists need to promote a relaxing and comforting environment within the mammography facility. This article discusses the level of anxiety that may be present in women during and after screening and approaches to relieve it. The use of the 2-Q questionnaire to aid in the discovery of anxiety in this population is also discussed.

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