Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer has been the most frequent cancer among women in Finland since 1960’s. The incidence is very low among women under 30 years of age but increases after 45 years of age. In 2007 over 4000 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed of which about 1200 cancers by the population-based screening programme. The annual number of all cancer cases is predicted to increase by 3150 cases per year by 2020 and breast cancer is responsible for one-third of the increase among women.
Even if the amount of new breast cancer cases has multiplied during the past decades the breast cancer mortality has increased only slightly possibly due to improved treatments and an effective screening program. About nine women out of ten are alive after five years after diagnosis.
The aim of the population-based screening programme is the reduction of the mortality caused by breast cancer. The tumours are aimed to be found at early, detectable preclinical phase, when the curative treatment is still possible. When at an early phase, the cancer is usually symptomless and not palpable.