Breast cancer screening and overdiagnosis

Jean-Luc Bulliard, Anna-Belle Beau, Sisse Njorv, Wendy Yi-Ying Wu, Pietro Procopio, Carolyn Nickson, Elsebeth Lynge

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review


Overdiagnosis is a harmful consequence of screening which is particularly challenging to estimate. An unbiased setting to measure overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening requires comparative data from a screened and an unscreened cohort for at least 30 years. Such randomized data will not become available, leaving us with observational data over shorter time periods and outcomes of modelling. This collaborative effort of the International Cancer Screening Network quantified the variation in estimated breast cancer overdiagnosis in organized programs with evaluation of both observed and simulated data, and presented examples of how modelling can provide additional insights. Reliable observational data, analysed with study design accounting for methodological pitfalls, and modelling studies with different approaches, indicate that overdiagnosis accounts for less than 10% of invasive breast cancer cases in a screening target population of women aged 50 to 69. Estimates above this level are likely to derive from inaccuracies in study design. The widely discrepant estimates of overdiagnosis reported from observational data could substantially be reduced by use of a cohort study design with at least 10 years of follow-up after screening stops. In contexts where concomitant opportunistic screening or gradual implementation of screening occurs, and data on valid comparison groups are not readily available, modelling of screening intervention becomes an advantageous option to obtain reliable estimates of breast cancer overdiagnosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Cancer
StatusE-publikation før trykning - 19 apr. 2021

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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