Background: To estimate the percentages of advanced-stage breast cancers (BCs) detected during the course of a steady-state screening programme when using different definitions of advanced BC. Methods: Data of women aged 49–74 years, diagnosed with BC in 2006–2015, were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry and linked to the screening registry. BCs were classified as screen-detected, interval or non-screened. Three definitions of advanced BC were used for comparison: TNM stage (III–IV), NM stage (N+ and/or M+) and T size (invasive tumour ≥15 mm). Analyses were performed assuming a 10% overdiagnosis rate. In sensitivity analyses, this assumption varied from 0 to 30%. Results: We included 46,734 screen-detected, 17,362 interval and 24,189 non-screened BCs. By TNM stage, 4.9% of screen-detected BCs were advanced, compared with 19.4% and 22.8% of interval and non-screened BCs, respectively (p < 0.001). Applying the other definitions led to higher percentages of advanced BC being detected. Depending on the definition interval, non-screened BCs had a 2–5-times risk of being advanced. Conclusion: Irrespective of the definition, screen-detected BCs were less frequently in the advanced stage. These findings provide evidence of a stage shift to early detection and support the potential of mammographic screening to reduce treatment-related burdens and the mortality associated with BC.

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Journal British Journal of Cancer
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de Munck, L, Siesling, S, Fracheboud, J, den Heeten, G.J, Broeders, M.J.M, & de Bock, G.H. (2020). Impact of mammographic screening and advanced cancer definition on the percentage of advanced-stage cancers in a steady-state breast screening programme in the Netherlands. British Journal of Cancer. doi:10.1038/s41416-020-0968-6