Following the demonstration of the efficacy of mammography in reducing the death rate for breast cancer in women aged over 50 years, national screening programmes were started in many northern European countries offering high quality mammography at two-year intervals to the resident population aged between 50 and 69 years.
In Italy, programmes were started at regional level in the course of the ‘90s covering large parts of the north and centre of the country. Recent years, following the inclusion of mammographic screening in the statutory obligation of regional health authorities, have seen a progressive increase in the coverage of the national territory. The national survey conducted by the National Screening Observatory and the Italian Group for Mammographic Screening has confirmed the extent, participation and quality of the perfomance of screening programmes in the country.
A primary aim of screening programmes is the reduction of mortality, a result requiring many years to assess. The analysis of early indicators of the impact of screening, such as changes in the distribution of stage at diagnosis and changes in survival, are considered instrumental in assessing the impact on the population and verifying that the practise of screening contributes to changes in the presentation of the illness at diagnosis.
The Italian Association of Cancer Registries (AIRTUM) has a wide network of population registries covering major parts of the country, and in many of these areas screening programmes are active, too. The IMPACT project was initiated by a collaboration of screening programmes and cancer registries. The project’s aim is to assess the impact of mammographic screening, in areas covered by cancer registries, in terms of mortality reduction, incidence trends and classification, and to assess trends in conservative treatments in relation to screening. Other areas of the country have progressively been involved in the project including those that have only registries for the pathology of neoplasia of the breast and those that only now are activating screening programmes.
The file in attachment are available only in Italian language.