BACKGROUND: In our companion article, incidence-based mortality analysis of data from breast cancer screening programs in 13 areas in Sweden indicated a 40% to 45% reduction in incidence-based breast cancer mortality among women actually screened. In this article, we apply new analytic methods for the evaluation of breast cancer mortality, using all breast cancer deaths in the period under study.
METHODS: Data were available from 13 areas on breast cancer mortality by year of diagnosis, year of death, and screening exposure. The period of study varied by area, the overall range of year of diagnosis being 1968 to 2001. We had data on 6,231 deaths and an average population of 555,676 women ages 40 to 69 years. Analysis of the effect of being screened was conducted using an alternative statistical analysis applied to all breast cancer deaths in the period of study, in addition to the incidence-based mortality analysis in our companion article. Data were analyzed using Poisson regression and adjusted for self-selection bias, contemporaneous changes in incidence, and changes in mortality independent of screening.
RESULTS: Using all deaths in the period of observation, a significant 42% reduction in breast cancer mortality was observed, adjusting for contemporaneous changes independent of screening [relative risk (RR), 0.58; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.53-0.62]. After further adjustment for self-selection bias, the mortality reduction was 39% (RR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.55-0.68), also highly significant.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate a reduction in breast cancer mortality of 39% in association with screening, after adjustment for contemporaneous changes and self-selection bias. These results confirm previous conclusions arrived at using incidence-based mortality analyses.