Breast cancer trends: opportunistic screening in Austria versus controlled screening in Finland and Sweden

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Abstract

The objective of the study was to compare the trends of incidence and of mortality of breast cancer in Austria, Finland and Sweden, where different mammography screening strategies (opportunistic versus controlled) are applied. Furthermore, to find out whether a change in screening strategies would be feasible for Austria. Age-standardized incidence rates (1983–2000) and mortality rates (1980–2001/2) were analysed. Furthermore, the annual per cent change and the annual rate change (annual rate change=±n/100 000 per year) and the 95% confidence interval were calculated. In all three countries, incidence rates increased significantly (Austria +26.4%, Finland +86.7%, Sweden +38.8%) during the period analysed (P<0.01). The annual per cent change and the annual rate change in Austria (1.57 and 1.56, respectively) are below the annual per cent change and the annual rate change in Finland (3.38 and 3.49, respectively) and in Sweden (1.80 and 2.19, respectively) for the period analysed. Total breast cancer mortality decreased significantly in Sweden since 1980 (−20.5%, P<0.01), in Finland since 1988 (−18.3%, P<0.05) and in Austria since 1990 (−19.8%, P<0.01). The annual per cent change and the annual rate change in Austria (−1.81 and −0.59, respectively) are below the annual per cent change and the annual rate change in Finland (−0.57 and −0.16, respectively) and in Sweden (−1.02 and −0.28, respectively) for the period analysed. In conclusion, despite its unsophisticated opportunistic screening, Austria does well in comparison with countries operating organized breast cancer screenings.

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