Objective: To provide proof of concept for a simple model to estimate the stage shift as a result of breast cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Stage shift is an essential early detection indicator and an important proxy for the performance and possible further impact of screening programmes. Our model could help LIMCs to choose appropriate control strategies. Methods: We assessed our model concept in three steps. First, we calculated the proportional performance rates (i.e. index number Z) based on 16 screening rounds of the Nijmegen Screening Program (384,884 screened women). Second, we used linear regression to assess the association between Z and the amount of stage shift observed in the programme. Third, we hypothesized how Z could be used to estimate the stage shift as a result of breast cancer screening in LMICs. Results: Stage shifts can be estimated by the proportional performance rates (Zs) using linear regression. Zs calculated for each screening round are highly associated with the observed stage shifts in the Nijmegen Screening Program (Pearson’s R: 0.798, R square: 0.637). Conclusions: Our model can predict the stage shifts in the Nijmegen Screening Program, and could be applied to settings with different characteristics, although it should not be straightforwardly used to estimate the impact on mortality. Further research should investigate the extrapolation of our model to other settings. As stage shift is an essential screening performance indicator, our model could provide important information on the performance of breast cancer screening programmes that LMICs consider implementing.

Breast cancer control, breast cancer screening, CBE screening, developing countries, model, stage distribution, validation
dx.doi.org/10.1177/0969141314559956, hdl.handle.net/1765/82620
Journal of Medical Screening
Department of Public Health

Zelle, S.G, Baltussen, R.M.P.M, Otten, J.D.M, Heijnsdijk, E.A.M, van Schoor, G, & Broeders, M.J.M. (2015). Predicting the stage shift as a result of breast cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries: a proof of concept. Journal of Medical Screening, 22(1), 8–19. doi:10.1177/0969141314559956