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Br J Cancer. 2009 Apr 7;100(7):1205-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604989. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Breast density and outcome of mammography screening: a cohort study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of breast density on breast cancer (BC) mortality in a mammography screening programme. The cohort included 48 052 women participating in mammography screening in Copenhagen, Denmark, where biennial screening is offered to women aged 50-69 years. We collected information for the years 1991-2001 on screening outcome, incident BCs (screen-, interval-, and later detected), and BC deaths. Breast density was dichotomised into fatty (F) and mixed/dense (M/D) breasts. Screening sensitivity was measured as the odds ratio of interval versus screen-detected cancer for dense versus F breasts. Poisson regression was used to estimate the ratios for BC incidence, case fatality, and mortality between women with M/D and F breasts. For women with M/D breasts, the odds ratio of an interval cancer was 1.62 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.14-2.30), and the age-adjusted rate ratios were 2.45 (95% CI 2.14-2.81) for BC incidence, 0.60 (95% CI 0.43-0.84) for case fatality, and 1.78 (95% CI 1.17-2.72) for BC mortality. The study shows that BC in women with M/D breasts is more frequent, but on average less severe, than in women with F breasts.

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