Breast cancer mortality in Norway after the introduction of mammography screening



An organized mammography screening program was gradually implemented in Norway during the period 1996–2004. Norwegian authorities have initiated an evaluation of the program. Our study focused on breast cancer mortality. Using Poisson regression, we compared the change in breast cancer mortality from before to during screening in four counties starting the program early controlling for change in breast cancer mortality during the same time in counties starting the program late. A follow-up model included death in all breast cancers diagnosed during the follow-up period. An evaluation model included only breast cancers diagnosed in ages where screening was offered. The study group had been invited for screening one to three times and followed for on average of 5.9 years. In the follow-up model, 314 breast cancer deaths were observed in the study group, and 523, 404 and 638, respectively, in the four control groups. The ratio between the changes in breast cancer mortality between early and late starting counties was 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77–1.12). In the evaluation model, this ratio was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.71–1.12). In Norway, where 40% of women used regular mammography prior to the program, the implementation of the organized mammography screening program was associated with a statistically nonsignificant decrease in breast cancer mortality of around 11%.