Background: Controversy persists about optimal mammography screening strategies. Objective: To evaluate screening outcomes, taking into account advances in mammography and treatment of breast cancer. Design: Collaboration of 6 simulation models using national data on incidence, digital mammography performance, treatment effects, and other-cause mortality. Setting: United States. Patients: Average-risk U.S. female population and subgroups with varying risk, breast density, or comorbidity. Intervention: Eight strategies differing by age at which screening starts (40, 45, or 50 years) and screening interval (annual, biennial, and hybrid [annual for women in their 40s and biennial thereafter]). All strategies assumed 100% adherence and stopped at age 74 years. Measurements: Benefits (breast cancer-specific mortality reduction, breast cancer deaths averted, life-years, and qualityadjusted life-years); number of mammograms used; harms (false-positive results, benign biopsies, and overdiagnosis); and ratios of harms (or use) and benefits (efficiency) per 1000 screens. Results: Biennial strategies were consistently the most efficient for average-risk women. Biennial screening from age 50 to 74 years avoided a median of 7 breast cancer deaths versus no screening; annual screening from age 40 to 74 years avoided an additional 3 deaths, but yielded 1988 more false-positive results and 11 more overdiagnoses per 1000 women screened. Annual screening from age 50 to 74 years was inefficient (similar bene-fits, but more harms than other strategies). For groups with a 2-to 4-fold increased risk, annual screening from age 40 years had similar harms and benefits as screening average-risk women biennially from 50 to 74 years. For groups with moderate or severe comorbidity, screening could stop at age 66 to 68 years. Limitation: Other imaging technologies, polygenic risk, and nonadherence were not considered. Conclusion: Biennial screening for breast cancer is efficient for average-risk populations. Decisions about starting ages and intervals will depend on population characteristics and the decision makers' weight given to the harms and benefits of screening.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine