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Lancet. 1990 Feb 3;335(8684):241-6.

Edinburgh trial of screening for breast cancer: mortality at seven years.

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  • 1Edinburgh Breast Screening Centre, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Between 1979 and 1981, 45,130 women in Edinburgh aged 45-64 were entered into a randomised trial of breast cancer screening by mammography and clinical examination. The initial attendance rate was 61% but this varied according to age and socioeconomic status and decreased over succeeding years. The cancer detection rate was 6.2 per 1000 women attending at the first visit; the rate fell to around 3 per 1000 in the years when mammography was routinely repeated and to around 1 per 1000 at the intervening visits with clinical examination alone as the screening method. After 7 years of follow-up the mortality reduction achieved was 17% (relative risk = 0.83, 95% CI 0.58-1.18), which was not statistically significant, even when corrected for socioeconomic status. In women aged 50 years and over a mortality reduction of 20% was achieved.

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