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How to inform women about their breast cancer screening results: new recommendations published

New recommendations on how to communicate mammogram results to women
May 28 2019

The JRC has released 10 new evidence-based recommendations on how mammogram results and follow-up appointments should be communicated to women within screening programmes.

Early diagnosis of breast cancer through organised screening programmes can lead to more effective treatments and higher survival rates.

When women participate in breast cancer screening programmes, they are invited for mammography. The results of this test can be negative (i.e. everything looks fine and no suspicious lesions are detected) or further assessment could be needed.

In either case, the way that this information is communicated to women can have a strong impact on their quality of life and general well-being, especially in terms of the levels of stress and anxiety they experience. It can also influence their future participation and trust in breast cancer screening initiatives.

Within the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC), the JRC, supported by an external expert group of professionals and patients, has evaluated existing good practices for this communication. These newly-published ECIBC recommendations indicate information needs during the screening process. They also contribute to the design of effective breast cancer screening programmes and to better informing women about their options.

There are now 50 publicly accessible ECIBC recommendations on breast cancer screening and diagnosis, and further 30 will be published later this year.

The total of 80 recommendations will cover: strategies for the organisation of screening programmes, types of screening tests in use, recommended diagnostic methods, communication approaches and the training of professionals involved in breast cancer screening and diagnosis.

The European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC)

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Europe and the first cause of cancer death in women. Data from the European Cancer Information System (ECIS) estimate more than 400,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2018. The Commission has launched the ECIBC to improve the quality of breast cancer care and to decrease the differences in accessing breast centres across Europe.