Evaluation of the effectiveness of mammography screening in Northern Sweden

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Service screening with mammography was implemented in Northern Sweden between 1989 and 1998, covering 190,000 women aged 40-74 years constituting the target population in the area.The aim of this thesis was the evaluation of mammography screening in Northern Sweden with special focus on selected screening performance indicators and on the disease outcome.We analysed interval cancer (IC) incidence and episode sensitivity in the Norrbotten Mammography Screening Programme (NMSP) for the period 1989-2002. An overall IC rate at 1.1/1000 and IC rate ratio at 38% was found and epsiode sensitivity was estimated at 62-73%, in concert with reference values of the European guidelines.Radiological classification of the IC cases in three rounds of the NMSP showed that true, occult, missed and minimal signs IC, were present in 48%, 10%, 14% and 28% of the cases.We analysed early death from breast cancer (n=342) in Northern Sweden during the first five years of mammography service screening. Most fatal cases were advanced and incurable on diagnosis. In a few screen-detected cases with favourable prognostic factors the fatal outcome was unexpected.We estimated breast cancer survival by detection mode in 5120 women with breast cancer. We found a significantly favourable survival among IC cases compared to cases among uninvited.We studied breast cancer mortality in relation to mammography screening. Our findings indicated a long-term reduction of breast cancer mortality by 26-30% among women invited to screening and by 31-35% among women screened compared to not screened.We conclude from our evaluation of the mammography screening in Northern Sweden that women benefited from this public health intervention in form of improved survival and reduced mortality.