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The Efficacy Of The German Mammography Screening Program

How effective is the German program? This is the question examined by of the Epidemiological Registry North Rhine-Westphalia and his co-authors in the first study on this subject in Germany, in Deutsches Arzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(46): 781-7).

To answer it, the authors have used the interval cancer rate as an indicator. Interval cancers are tumors found more or less by chance between two screenings. In approximately 880 000 from North Rhine-Westphalia who had taken part in mammography screening for the first time between 2005 and 2008 and had received negative test results, the authors examined whether occurred in the following 24 months. It was shown to occur in approximately 2000 women. This corresponds to a rate of 0.23%, a result that is absolutely comparable with similar international studies.

However, the authors also noticed another result in their follow-up research: 40% of all malignant of size T2 to T4 (i.e. ranging from at least 2 cm to more than 5 cm) detected in the study participants during the observation period proved to be interval cancers. Further research is needed to explain this phenomenon.


Deutsches Aerzteblatt International