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Inter- and intra-provincial variation in screen-detected breast cancer across five Canadian provinces: a CanIMPACT study


Objective — Breast cancer screening aims to identify cancers in early stages when prognosis is better and treatments less invasive. We describe inter- and intra-provincial variation in the percentage of screen-detected cases under publicly funded healthcare systems and factors related to having screen- vs non-screen-detected breast cancer across five Canadian provinces.

Methods — Women aged 40+ diagnosed with incident breast cancer from 2007 to 2012 in five Canadian provinces were identified from their respective provincial cancer registries. Standardized provincial datasets were created linking screening, health administrative, and claims data. Province-specific logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association of demographic and healthcare utilization factors in each province with the odds of screen-detected cancer.

Results — There was significant inter- and intra-provincial variation by age. Screen detection ranged from 42% to 52% in ages 50–69 but women aged 50–59 had approximately 4–8% lower screen detection than those aged 60–69 in all provinces. Screening associations with income quintile and rurality varied across provinces. Those least likely to be screen-detected within a province were consistently in the lowest income quintile; OR ranged from 0.62–0.89 relative to highest income quintile/urban patients aged 50–69. Lack of visits to primary care 30 months prior to diagnosis was also consistently associated with lower odds of screen detection (OR range, 0.37–0.76).

Conclusion — Breast cancer screen detection rates in the Canadian provinces examined are relatively high. Associations with income-rurality indicate a need for greater attention and/or targeted outreach to specific communities and/or provincial regions to improve access to breast cancer screening services intra-provincially.



Winget M, Yuan Y, McBride ML, Kendell C, Decker KM, Grunfeld E, Groome PA; Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum (CanIMPACT). Can J Public Health. 2020; 111(5):794-803. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

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