Screening programme

The population-based screening program for breast cancer in Finland was introduced in 1987. It is currently based on the Government Decree on Screenings (1339/2006). According to the decree municipalities organise the free of charge screening for women aged between 50 and 69 years. Women are invited to screening biannually and they receive their first invitation at the age of 50. The written invitation letter is posted personally as well as the results of the mammogram. Over 1 800 000 women have been invited to the screening since the year 2000 covering 68, 4 % of the current target population.

The Mass Screening Registry provides information about the name and address of women to be invited for the screening centres several times per year. Information is gathered from the Population Register Centre and it is based on the information the screening units have received from the municipalities about the age groups (age-cohorts) that are included in the screening programme each calendar year.

The data of the invitations and the performed screening mammograms are gathered in the Mass Screening Registry at the Finnish Cancer Registry. The Mass Screening Registry maintains the national database for breast cancer screening and provides the annual statistics and evaluates the impact of screening on mortality and the quality of the screening programme. According to research conducted in Mass Screening Registry in the beginning of 2000’s, screening was of good quality and performed breast cancer mortality decreased about 20 % among women who were invited and 28 % among those who attended in screening. During the 2000’s the coverage of the target population has improved by about 10 % but the attendance rate has dropped from 87 % to 84 %.