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J Med Screen. 1995;2(1):10-4.

Effect of breast cancer screening after age 65.

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Department of Community Medicine, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • J Med Screen 1995;2(2):118.



To assess the effect of mammographic screening for breast cancer in women aged 65 years or over.


The Swedish two county trial of screening for breast cancer, in which 77,080 women aged 40-74 (21,925 aged 65-74) were randomly allocated to receive regular mammographic screening for breast cancer, and 55,985 women aged 40-74 (15,344 aged 65-74) were allocated to an unscreened control group.


One group was screened every 33 months on average, except for those aged 40-49 at randomisation who were screened every 24 months. The control group was screened once at the conclusion of the trial. The main statistical analysis was the comparison of cumulative mortality with 13 years of follow up between the screened and control groups, in age groups 50-64 and 65-74, using Poisson regression. This was complemented by subsidiary analyses assessing the lead time, sensitivity, and predicted mortality from the size, node status, and grade of tumours diagnosed in the screened and control groups.


In the age group 65-74 at randomisation there was a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality in the screened group, with a relative mortality of 0.68 and 95% confidence interval of 0.51 to 0.89. This was backed up by the results of the analyses of lead time, sensitivity, and tumour characteristics.


Women aged 65 or more who are regularly screened can expect a reduced risk of dying from breast cancer.

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