Determinants of the number of mammography units in 31 countries with significant mammography screening

Br J Cancer. 2008 Oct 7;99(7):1185-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604657. Epub 2008 Sep 9.


In the 2000s, most of the female population of industrialised countries had access to mammography breast cancer screening, but with variable modalities among the countries. We assessed the number of mammography units (MUs) in 31 European, North American and Asian countries where significant mammography activity has existed for over 10 years, collecting data on the number of such units and of radiologists by contacting institutions in each country likely to provide the relevant information. Around 2004, there were 32,324 MU in 31 countries, the number per million women ranging from less than 25 in Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Poland and Hungary to more than 80 in Cyprus, Italy, France, the United States and Austria. In a multivariate analysis, the number of MUs was positively associated with the number of radiologists (P=0.0081), the number of women (P=0.0023) and somewhat with the country surface area (P=0.077). There is considerable variation in the density of MU across countries and the number of MUs in service are often well above what would be necessary according to local screening recommendations. High number of MUs in some countries may have undesirable consequences, such as unnecessarily high screening frequency and decreased age at which screening is started.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Developed Countries*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*