Background: Women require balanced, high-quality information when making an informed decision on screening benefits and harms before attending biennial mammographic screening. Patients and methods: The cumulative risk of a false-positive recall and/or (small) screen-detected or interval cancer over 13 consecutive screening examinations for women aged 50 from the start of screening were estimated using data from the Nijmegen programme, the Netherlands. Results: Women who underwent 13 successive screens in the period 1975-1976 had a 5.3% cumulative chance of a screen-detected cancer, with a 4.2% risk of at least one false-positive recall. The risk of being diagnosed with interval cancer was 3.7%. Two decades later, these estimates were 6.9%, 7.3% and 2.9%, respectively. The chance of detection of a small, favourable invasive breast cancer, anticipating a normal life-expectancy, rose from 2.3% to 3.7%. Extrapolation to digital screening mammography indicates that the proportion of false-positive results will rise to 16%. Conclusion: Dutch women about to participate in the screening programme can be reassured that the chance of falsepositive recall in the Netherlands is relatively low. A new screening policy and improved mammography have increased the detection of an early screening carcinoma and lowering the risk of interval carcinoma.

Breast neoplasm, Cumulative risk, False-negative reactions, False-positive reactions, Mammography, Mass screening,
Annals of Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Otten, J.D.M, Fracheboud, J, den Heeten, G.J, Otto, S.J, Holland, R, de Koning, H.J, … Verbeek, A.L.M. (2013). Likelihood of early detection of breast cancer in relation to false-positive risk in life-time mammographic screening: Population-based cohort study. Annals of Oncology, 24(10), 2501–2506. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdt227