Long-term effects of the interruption of the Dutch breast cancer screening program due to COVID-19: A modelling study

Keris Poelhekken*, Marcel J.W. Greuter, Linda de Munck, Sabine Siesling, Frank B. Brokken, Geertruida H. de Bock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Due to COVID-19, the Dutch breast cancer screening program was interrupted for three months with uncertain long-term effects. The aim of this study was to estimate the long-term impact of this interruption on delay in detection, tumour size of screen-detected breast cancers, and interval cancer rate. After validation, the micro-simulation model SiMRiSc was used to calculate the effects of interruption of the breast cancer screening program for three months and for hypothetical interruptions of six and twelve months. A scenario without interruption was used as reference. Outcomes considered were tumour size of screen-detected breast cancers and interval cancer rate. Women of 55-59 and 60-64 years old at time of interruption were considered. Uncertainties were estimated using a sensitivity analysis. The three-month interruption had no clinically relevant long-term effect on the tumour size of screen-detected breast cancers. A 19% increase in interval cancer rate was found between last screening before and first screening after interruption compared to no interruption.
Hypothetical interruptions of six and twelve months resulted in larger increases in interval cancer rate of 38% and 78% between last screening before and first screening after interruption, respectively, and an increase in middle-sized tumours in first screening after interruption of 26% and 47%, respectively.
In conclusion, the interruption of the Dutch screening program is not expected to result in a long-term delay in detection or clinically relevant change in tumour size of screen-detected cancers, but only affects the interval cancer rate between last screening before and first screening after interruption.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107376
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive medicine
Volume166
Early online date6 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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