The effect of mammography screening regimen on incidence-based breast cancer mortality

Martin J. Yaffe*, Nicole Mittmann, Oguzhan Alagoz, Amy Trentham-Dietz, Anna N.A. Tosteson, Natasha K. Stout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Incidence-based mortality quantifies the distribution of cancer deaths and life-years lost, according to age at detection. We investigated the temporal distribution of the disease burden, and the effect of starting and stopping ages and interval between screening mammography examinations, on incidence-based mortality. Methods: Incidence-based mortality was estimated using an established breast cancer simulation model, adapted and validated to simulate breast cancer incidence, screening performance, and delivery of therapies in Canada. Ten strategies were examined, with varying starting age (40 or 50), stopping age (69 or 74), and interval (1, 2, 3 years), and “No Screening.” Life-years lost were computed as the difference between model predicted time of breast cancer death and that estimated from life tables. Results: Without screening, 70% of the burden in terms of breast cancer deaths extends between ages 45 and 75. The mean of the distribution of ages of detection of breast cancers that will be fatal in an unscreened population is 61.8 years, while the mean age of detection weighted by the number of life-years lost is 55, a downward shift of 6.8 years. Similarly, the mean age of detection for the distribution of life-years gained through screening is lower than that for breast cancer deaths averted. Conclusion: Incidence-based mortality predictions from modeling elucidate the age dependence of the breast cancer burden and can provide guidance for optimizing the timing of screening regimens to achieve maximal impact. Of the regimens studied, the greatest lifesaving effect was achieved with annual screening beginning at age 40.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Age to begin screening
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Incidence-based mortality
  • Mammography
  • Mammography screening regimens
  • Quality-adjusted lifeyears
  • Screening interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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