Breast screening for survivors of breast cancer: A systematic review

Prev Med. 2017 Oct;103:70-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.07.026. Epub 2017 Jul 29.


There is a large and growing population of women who have a personal history of breast cancer (PHBC). This systematic review was undertaken to explore the outcomes of surveillance mammography in breast cancer survivors, and to examine the evidence for screening these women within an organized population-based screening program. We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL Issue 6, 2015), OVID MEDLINE and EMBASE (January 2012 to June 22, 2015) for English-language studies of surveillance of the target population. A study author extracted study outcomes, which were audited by a research assistant. One systematic review and 5 primary studies were included. These showed that surveillance mammography may reduce breast cancer-specific mortality through early/asymptomatic detection (Hazard Ratio for those without compared to with symptoms:HR: 0.64, 95% CI 0.55 - 0.74). Three studies showed that semi-annual mammography is likely not of greater benefit than annual mammography. No evidence was found to suggest that surveillance mammography for women with a PHBC should not be conducted within an organized screening program. The small evidence-base had a high level of heterogeneity in populations, interventions and outcomes. Based on this review, organized screening programs should reassess their guidelines on surveillance mammography and consider including women with a PHBC.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Mammography; Screening; Survivors; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Mass Screening*
  • Treatment Outcome