Report

Analysis of cancer outcomes and screening behaviour of cancer screening programs in Australia

14 Sep 2018
Description

This report presents the first results from an Australian-first project, combining data from BreastScreen Australia, the National Cervical Screening Program, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, the Australian Cancer Database, the National Death Index, and the National HPV (human papillomavirus) Vaccination Program Register.

Breast cancers detected through BreastScreen Australia were less likely to cause death

This report compared survival outcomes of breast cancers detected through BreastScreen Australia with breast cancers diagnosed in women who had never screened.

Of the breast cancers diagnosed in women aged 50–69 in 2002–2012:

  • 31,968 were detected through BreastScreen Australia
  • 20,245 were diagnosed in women who had never screened.

Women diagnosed through BreastScreen Australia had a 69% lower risk of dying from breast cancer before 31 December 2015 than those who had never screened.

Even after correcting for lead-time bias (where an earlier diagnosis may not affect date of death, yet give a seemingly longer survival time) and screening selection bias (where women who choose to participate in screening may be at a lower risk of death, which would result in an increase in survival that may not be real), the risk of dying from breast cancer was still 42% lower for women diagnosed through BreastScreen Australia than for women who had never screened through BreastScreen Australia.

Cervical cancers detected through cervical screening were less likely to cause death

Cervical cancer outcomes need to be considered within the context of cervical screening that aims to detect and treat precancerous disease, thereby preventing cervical cancers. This is reflected in these data, since the vast majority of cervical cancers occurred in women who had either never screened or who were lapsed screeners (had not screened for some time).

This report compared survival outcomes of cervical cancers detected through cervical screening with cervical cancers diagnosed in women who had never had a Pap test.

Of the cervical cancers diagnosed in women aged 20–69 in 2002–2012:

  • 354 were detected through cervical screening
  • 1,222 were diagnosed in women who had never had a Pap test.

Women diagnosed through cervical screening had an 87% lower risk of dying from cervical cancer before 31 December 2015 than women who had never had a Pap test.

Bowel cancers detected through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program were less likely to cause death

This report compares survival outcomes of bowel cancers detected through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program with bowel cancers diagnosed in people who had never been invited to screen.

Of the bowel cancers diagnosed in people aged 50–69 in 2006–2012:

  • 3,316 were detected through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
  • 20,217 were diagnosed in people who had never been invited to screen.

People diagnosed through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program had a 59% lower risk of dying from bowel cancer before 31 December 2015 than people who had never been invited to screen.

Even after correcting for lead-time bias (where an earlier diagnosis may not affect date of death, yet give a seemingly longer survival time), the risk of dying from bowel cancer was still 40% lower for people diagnosed through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program than for people who had never been invited to screen.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
isbn: 
978-1-76054-412-6 (PDF)
Language: 
License Type: 
CC BY
Published year only: 
2018
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