Long-term follow-up data on the effects of screening are scarce, and debate exists on the relative contribution of screening versus treatment to breast cancer mortality reduction. Our aim was therefore to assess the long-term effect of screening by age and time of implementation. We obtained data on 69,630 breast cancer deaths between 1980 and 2010 by municipality (N = 431) and age of death (40–79) in the Netherlands. Breast cancer mortality trends were analyzed by defining the municipality-specific calendar year of introduction of screening as Year 0. Additionally, log-linear Poisson regression was used to estimate the turning point in the trend after Year 0, per municipality, and the annual percentage change (APC) before and after this point. Twenty years after introduction of screening breast cancer mortality was reduced by 30% in women aged 55–74 and by 34% in women aged 75–79, compared to Year 0. A similar and significant decrease was present in municipalities that started early (1987–1992) and late (1995–1997) with screening, despite the difference in availability of effective adjuvant treatment. In the age groups 55–74 and 75–79, the turning point in the trend in breast cancer mortality was estimated in Years 2 and 6 after the introduction of screening, respectively, after which mortality decreased significantly by 1.9% and 2.6% annually. These findings show that the implementation of mammography screening in Dutch municipalities is associated with a significant decline in breast cancer mortality in women aged 55–79, irrespective of time of implementation.

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Keywords breast cancer mortality reduction, breast cancer mortality trends, follow-up, full screening coverage, population-based mammography screening
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.30754, hdl.handle.net/1765/100599
Journal International Journal of Cancer
Sankatsing, V.D.V, van Ravesteyn, N.T, Heijnsdijk, E.A.M, Looman, C.W.N, van Luijt, P.A, Fracheboud, J, … de Koning, H.J. (2017). The effect of population-based mammography screening in Dutch municipalities on breast cancer mortality: 20 years of follow-up. International Journal of Cancer, 141(4), 671–677. doi:10.1002/ijc.30754