In this cross-sectional population-based study, we assessed the incidence of advanced breast cancer based on screening attendance. Women from the Netherlands Cancer Registry were included if aged ≥49 years and diagnosed with breast cancer between 2006 and 2011, and data were linked with the screening program. Cancers were defined as screen-related (diagnosed <24 months after screening) or nonscreened (all other breast cancers). Two cut-offs were used to define advanced breast cancer: TNM-stage (III–IV vs 0–I–II) and T-stage alone (≥15 mm vs <15 mm or DCIS). The incidence rates were adjusted for age and logistic regression was used to compare groups. Of the 72,612 included women diagnosed with breast cancer, 44,246 (61%) had screen-related breast cancer. By TNM stage, advanced cancer was almost three times as likely to be at an advanced TNM stage in the nonscreened group compared with the screen-related group (38 and 94 per 100,000, respectively; OR: 2.86, 95%CI: 2.72–3.00). By T-stage, the incidence of advanced cancer was higher overall, and in nonscreened women was significantly higher than in screened women (210 and 169 per 100,000; OR: 1.85, 95%CI: 1.78–1.93). Data on actual screening attendance showed that the incidence of advanced breast cancer was significantly higher in nonscreened women than in screened women, supporting the expectation that screening would cause a stage shift to early detection. Despite critical evaluations of breast cancer screening programs, our data show that breast cancer screening is a valuable tool that can reduce the disease burden in women.

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Keywords advanced-stage, breast cancer, incidence rate, mass screening, screen-detected
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Journal International Journal of Cancer
de Munck, L, Fracheboud, J, de Bock, G.H, den Heeten, G.J, Siesling, S, & Broeders, M.J.M. (2018). Is the incidence of advanced-stage breast cancer affected by whether women attend a steady-state screening program?. International Journal of Cancer, 143(4), 842–850. doi:10.1002/ijc.31388