Breast cancer survival and prognosis by screening history

Br J Cancer. 2014 Feb 4;110(3):556-9. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.732. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Background: Cancers not detected by breast screening are commonly assumed to have poorer prognosis.

Methods: We examined the survival experience of all women aged 50-74 years diagnosed with a first breast cancer between 1998 and 2006 in British Columbia, Canada and determined their screening experience. Disease-specific survival rates were calculated and, for cases diagnosed in 2002, prognostic factors (size, nodal involvement, grade ER status and stage) were examined by time since screening.

Results: Breast cancers diagnosed at screening had the best survival (P<0.001). Cancers detected within 12 months of a negative screen had similar survival rates (P=0.98) to those diagnosed within 12-23 and 24-47 months, with other non-screen-detected cancers having poorer survival (P<0.001). The prognostic profile of cancers diagnosed in 2002 followed a similar pattern.

Interpretation: There was no evidence that cancers diagnosed within 12 months had poorer prognosis than those diagnosed up to 48 months following screening.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Canada
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Rate