BACKGROUND: High participation in mammographic screening is essential for its effectiveness to detect breast cancers early and thereby, improve breast cancer outcomes. Breast density is a strong predictor of breast cancer risk and significantly reduces the sensitivity of mammography to detect the disease. There are increasing mandates for routine breast density notification within mammographic screening programs. It is unknown if breast density notification impacts the likelihood of women returning to screening when next due (i.e. rescreening rates). This study investigates the association between breast density notification and rescreening rates using individual-level data from BreastScreen Western Australia (WA), a population-based mammographic screening program.
METHODS: We examined 981,705 screening events from 311,656 women aged 40+ who attended BreastScreen WA between 2008 and 2017. Mixed effect logistic regression was used to investigate the association between rescreening and breast density notification status.
RESULTS: Results were stratified by age (younger, targeted, older) and screening round (first, second, third+). Targeted women screening for the first time were more likely to return to screening if notified as having dense breasts (Percentunadjusted notified vs. not-notified: 57.8% vs. 56.1%; Padjusted = 0.016). Younger women were less likely to rescreen if notified, regardless of screening round (all P < 0.001). There was no association between notification and rescreening in older women (all P > 0.72).
CONCLUSIONS: Breast density notification does not deter women in the targeted age range from rescreening but could potentially deter younger women from rescreening. These results suggest that all breast density notification messaging should include information regarding the importance of regular mammographic screening to manage breast cancer risk, particularly for younger women. These results will directly inform BreastScreen programs in Australia as well as other population-based screening providers outside Australia who notify women about breast density or are considering implementing breast density notification.