Annual mammographic screening to reduce breast cancer mortality in women from age 40 years: long-term follow-up of the UK Age RCT

Stephen Duffy, Daniel Vulkan, Howard Cuckle, Dharmishta Parmar, Shama Sheikh, Robert Smith, Andrew Evans, Oleg Blyuss, Louise Johns, Ian Ellis, Peter Sasieni, Chris Wale, Jonathan Myles, Sue Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background There remains disagreement on the long-term effect of mammographic screening in women aged 40-49 years. Objectives The long-term follow-up of a randomised controlled trial that offered annual mammography to women aged 40-49 years. The estimation of the effect of these mammograms on breast cancer and other-cause mortality, and the effect on incidence, with implications for overdiagnosis. Design An individually randomised controlled trial comparing offering annual mammography with offering usual care in those aged 40-48 years, and thus evaluating the effect of annual screening entirely taking place before the age of 50 years. There was follow-up for an average of 23 years for breast cancer incidence, breast cancer death and death from other causes. We analysed the mortality and incidence data by Poisson regression and estimated overdiagnosis formally using Markov process models. Set ting Twenty-three screening units in England, Wales and Scotland within the NHS Breast Screening Programme. Participants Women aged 39-41 years were recruited bet ween 1990 and 1997. After exclusions, a total of 53,883 women were randomised to undergo screening (the intervention group) and 106,953 women were randomised to have usual care (the control group). Interventions The intervention group was invited to an annual breast screen with film mammography, two view at first screen and single view thereafter, up to and including the calendar year of their 48th birthday. The control group received no intervention. Both groups were invited to the National Programme from the age of 50 years, when screening is offered to all women in the UK. Main outcome measures The main outcome measures were mortality from breast cancers diagnosed during the intervention phase of the trial (i.e. before the first National Programme screen at 50 years), mortality from all breast cancers diagnosed after randomisation, all-cause mortality, mortality from causes other than breast cancer, and the incidence of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalHealth technology assessment (Winchester, England)
Issue number55
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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