All-cause mortality among breast cancer patients in a screening trial: Support for breast cancer mortality as an end point

L. Tabar, S. W. Duffy, M. F. Yen, J. Warwick, B. Vitak, H. H. Chen, R. A. Smith

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Background: It has recently been suggested that all-cause mortality is a more appropriate end point than disease specific mortality in cancer screening trials, and that disease specific mortality is biased in favour of screening. This suggestion is based partly on supposed inconsistencies between all-cause mortality results and disease specific results in cancer screening trials, and alleged increases in deaths from causes other than breast cancer among breast cancer cases diagnosed among women invited to screening. Methods: We used data from the Swedish Two-County Trial of mammographic screening for breast cancer, in which 77 080 women were randomised to an invitation to screening and 55 985 to no invitation. We estimated relative risks (RRs) (invited v control) of death from breast cancer, death from other causes within the breast cancer cases, and death from all causes within the breast cancer cases. RRs were adjusted for age and took account of the longer follow up of breast cancer cases in the invited group due to lead time. Results: There was a significant 31% reduction in breast cancer mortality in the invited group (RR 0.69, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 0.58-0.80; p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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