Outcome of breast cancer screening in Denmark

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Background: In Denmark, national roll-out of a population-based, screening mammography program took place in 2007-2010. We report on outcome of the first four biennial invitation rounds. Methods: Data on screening outcome were retrieved from the 2015 and 2016 national screening quality reports. We calculated coverage by examination; participation after invitation; detection-, interval cancer- and false-positive rates; cancer characteristics; sensitivity and specificity, for Denmark and for the five regions. Results: At the national level coverage by examination remained at 75-77%; lower in the Capital Region than in the rest of Denmrk. Detection rate was slightly below 1% at first screen, 0.6% at subsequent screens, and one region had some fluctuation over time. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) constituted 13-14% of screen-detected cancers. In subsequent rounds, 80% of screen-detected invasive cancers were node negative and 40% ≤10 mm. False-positive rate was around 2%; higher for North Denmark Region than for the rest of Denmark. Three out of 10 breast cancers in screened women were diagnosed as interval cancers. Conclusions: High coverage by examination and low interval cancer rate are required for screening to decrease breast cancer mortality. Two pioneer local screening programs starting in the 1990s were followed by a decrease in breast cancer mortality of 22-25%. Coverage by examination and interval cancer rate of the national program were on the favorable side of values from the pioneer programs. It appears that the implementation of a national screening program in Denmark has been successful, though regional variations need further evaluation to assure optimization of the program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number897
JournalBMC Cancer
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Breast cancer, Ductal carcinoma in situ, Mammography, Screening

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