Publication Abstract

Authors: Sarkeala T, Hakama M, Saarenmaa I, Hakulinen T, Forsman H, Anttila A

Title: Episode sensitivity in association with process indicators in the Finnish breast cancer screening program.

Journal: Int J Cancer 118(1):174-9

Date: 2006 Jan 01

Abstract: We assessed the episode sensitivity of the Finnish mammography program for women aged 50-59 (partly 60-64) years and explored associations between the episode sensitivity and the screening process indicators from 1991 to 1999. For the study period, data were available from 10 screening centers. Records of 721,000 screening visits were linked to the files of the nationwide Finnish Cancer Registry from 1991 to 2001 at an individual level. The rates of screen-detected and interval breast cancers were calculated at the first and at the subsequent screens. The episode sensitivity was determined by contrasting the incidence of interval cancers with the expected population incidence rate without screening (incidence method) and as a proportion of interval cancers out of all cancers detected (detection method). At the subsequent screens, the episode sensitivity determined by the incidence method was 54% and by the detection method 65%. The sensitivity 0-11 and 12-23 months after the screening was 70% and 38%, respectively. The episode sensitivity decreased toward the end of the study period and increased with age. The center-specific sensitivity increased 13% per 1% absolute increase in the recall rate. In general, our study provides further information on the effectiveness of screening programs. The sensitivity estimates were comparable with those from other European service screening programs. The variability in the episode sensitivity suggests potential for variations in the future screening outcome.