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Br J Cancer. 1989 Jun;59(6):954-8.

Breast cancer screening programmes: the development of a monitoring and evaluation system.

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MRC Biostatistics, Cambridge, UK.


It is important that the introduction of breast screening is closely monitored. The anticipated effect on breast cancer mortality will take 10 years or more fully to emerge, and will only occur if a succession of more short-term end points are met. Data from the Swedish two-county randomised trial provide targets that should be achieved, following a logical progression of compliance with the initial invitation, prevalence and stage distribution at the prevalence screen, the rate of interval cancers after the initial screen, the pick-up rate and stage distribution at later screening tests, the rate of interval cancers after later tests, the absolute rate of advanced cancer and finally the breast cancer mortality rate. For evaluation purposes, historical data on stage at diagnosis is desirable; it is suggested that tumour size is probably the most relevant variable available in most cases.

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