Reduced mortality for women with mammography-detected breast cancer in east Denmark and south Sweden

Eur J Cancer. 2006 Nov;42(16):2773-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2006.03.036. Epub 2006 Sep 20.


The 5-year relative survival from breast cancer in Denmark is 10 percentage points lower than in Sweden. This difference has been demonstrated previously as being caused partly by more involved lymph nodes and larger tumours in Denmark. Sweden has had nationwide mammography-screening coverage since 1991, whereas this is still in its infancy in Denmark. In the search for an explanation for the remaining survival difference, patient delay was a likely candidate. This study compared patient delay and mammography-detection between two national regions. Data on patient delay and mammography were obtained from hospital records from 1989 and 1994, and analysed using Cox proportional hazard analysis of death within the first 5 years, with the factors age, country, delay/mammography detection and established patho-anatomic variables. A comparison of patient delay and mammography detection in 1989 and 1994 showed more mammography-detected tumours in south Sweden and more women with long delay in east Denmark. Mammography detection, but not long patient delay, had a significant effect on the death hazard when adjusting for patho-anatomic risk factors. The hazard ratio was not eliminated in 1989, but in 1994, the hazard ratio between east Denmark and south Sweden was reduced from 1.3 to 1.1. In conclusion, patient delay did not appear to have any effect on 5-year survival when adjusting for patho-anatomic factors, but tumour detection by mammography affected survival favourably and partly explained the survival difference between east Denmark and south Sweden.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast* / mortality
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / mortality
  • Mass Screening / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology