Evaluation of breast cancer service screening programme with a Bayesian approach: mortality analysis in a Finnish region

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Evaluation of long-term effectiveness of population-based breast cancer service screening program in a small geographic area may suffer from self-selection bias and small samples. Under a prospective cohort design with exposed and non-exposed groups classified by whether women attended the screen upon invitation, we proposed a Bayesian acyclic graphic model for correcting self-selection bias with or without incorporation of prior information derived from previous studies with an identical screening program in Sweden by chronological order and applied it to an organized breast cancer service screening program in Pirkanmaa center of Finland. The relative mortality rate of breast cancer was 0.27 (95% CI 0.12-0.61) for the exposed group versus the non-exposed group without adjusting for self-selection bias. With adjustment for selection-bias, the adjusted relative mortality rate without using previous data was 0.76 (95% CI 0.49-1.15), whereas a statistically significant result was achieved [0.73 (95% CI 0.57-0.93)] with incorporation of previous information. With the incorporation of external data sources from Sweden in chronological order, adjusted relative mortality rate was 0.67 (0.55-0.80). We demonstrated how to apply a Bayesian acyclic graphic model with self-selection bias adjustment to evaluating an organized but non-randomized breast cancer screening program in a small geographic area with a significant 27% mortality reduction that is consistent with the previous result but more precise. Around 33% mortality was estimated by taking previous randomized controlled data from Sweden.

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