Periodic screening for breast cancer: the HIP Randomized Controlled Trial. Health Insurance Plan

J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 1997;(22):27-30. doi: 10.1093/jncimono/1997.22.27.


This paper summarizes the findings of the first breast cancer screening trial, which was initiated in December 1963 to explore the efficacy of screening. Women aged 40-64 years were selected from enrollees in the Health Insurance Plan (HIP) of Greater New York and were randomly assigned to study and control groups. Study group women were invited for screening, an initial examination, and three annual reexaminations. Screening consisted of film mammography (cephalocaudal and lateral views of each breast) and clinical examination of breasts. Breast cancer and mortality from breast cancer were examined by treatment group (study vs. control) and by entry-age subgroup. By the end of 18 years from entry, the study group had about a 25% lower breast cancer mortality among women aged 40-49 and 50-59 at time of entry than did the control group. However, to a large extent the difference among the 40-49-year-olds occurred in the subgroup with breast cancer diagnosed after these women had passed their 50th birthday, and utility of screening women in their forties is questionable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Mammography*
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Registries
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors