Background: Mammography screening can lead to overdiagnosis—that is, screen-detected breast cancer that would not have caused symptoms or signs in the remaining lifetime. There is no consensus about the frequency of breast cancer overdiagnosis. Objective: To estimate the rate of breast cancer overdiagnosis in contemporary mammography practice accounting for the detection of nonprogressive cancer. Design: Bayesian inference of the natural history of breast cancer using individual screening and diagnosis records, allowing for nonprogressive preclinical cancer. Combination of fitted natural history model with life-table data to predict the rate of overdiagnosis among screen-detected cancer under biennial screening. Setting: Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) facilities. Participants: Women aged 50 to 74 years at first mammography screen between 2000 and 2018. Measurements: Screening mammograms and screen-detected or interval breast cancer. Results: The cohort included 35986 women, 82677 mammograms, and 718 breast cancer diagnoses. Among all preclinical cancer cases, 4.5% (95% uncertainty interval [UI], 0.1% to 14.8%) were estimated to be nonprogressive. In a program of biennial screening from age 50 to 74 years, 15.4% (UI, 9.4% to 26.5%) of screen-detected cancer cases were estimated to be overdiagnosed, with 6.1% (UI, 0.2% to 20.1%) due to detecting indolent preclinical cancer and 9.3% (UI, 5.5% to 13.5%) due to detecting progressive preclinical cancer in women who would have died of an unrelated cause before clinical diagnosis. Limitations: Exclusion of women with first mammography screen outside BCSC. Conclusion: On the basis of an authoritative U.S. population data set, the analysis projected that among biennially screened women aged 50 to 74 years, about 1 in 7 cases of screen-detected cancer is overdiagnosed. This information clarifies the risk for breast cancer overdiagnosis in contemporary screening practice and should facilitate shared and informed decision making about mammography screening.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Annals of internal medicine|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2022|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine