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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


NATAL, Carmen  and  GRUPO BELE et al. Variations in the diagnostic confirmation process between breast cancer mass screening units. Gac Sanit [online]. 2016, vol.30, n.4, pp.265-271. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To analyse variations in the diagnostic confirmation process between screening units, variations in the outcome of each episode and the relationship between the use of the different diagnostic confirmation tests and the lesion detection rate. Method: Observational study of variability of the standardised use of diagnostic and lesion detection tests in 34 breast cancer mass screening units participating in early-detection programmes in three Spanish regions from 2002-2011. Results: The diagnostic test variation ratio in percentiles 25-75 ranged from 1.68 (further appointments) to 3.39 (fine-needle aspiration). The variation ratio in detection rates of benign lesions, ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive cancer were 2.79, 1.99 and 1.36, respectively. A positive relationship between rates of testing and detection rates was found with fine-needle aspiration-benign lesions (R2: 0.53), fine-needle aspiration-invasive carcinoma (R2: 0 28), core biopsy-benign lesions (R2: 0.64), core biopsy-ductal carcinoma in situ (R2: 0.61) and core biopsy-invasive carcinoma (R2: 0.48). Conclusions: Variation in the use of invasive tests between the breast cancer screening units participating in early-detection programmes was found to be significantly higher than variations in lesion detection. Units which conducted more fine-needle aspiration tests had higher benign lesion detection rates, while units that conducted more core biopsies detected more benign lesions and cancer.

Keywords : Breast cancer; Early detection of cancer; Diagnostic techniques and procedures; Clinical practice variation; Small area variation analysis; Assessment of health services.

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