Int J Med Sci 2008; 5(3):106-112. doi:10.7150/ijms.5.106 This issue

Research Paper

Breast cancer screening in France: results of the EDIFICE survey

X Pivot1, O Rixe2, JF Morere3, Y Coscas4, L Cals5, M Namer6, D Serin7, S Dolbeault8, F Eisinger9, C Roussel10, JY Blay11

1. University Hospital Jean Minjoz, INSERM UMR 845, Besancon, France
2. University Hospital of Pitier Salpetriere, Paris France
3. University Hospital of Avicenne, Bobigny, France
4. Porte de Saint Cloud center, Boulogne Billancourt, France
5. Font-Pre Hospital, Toulon, France
6. Azureen cancer center, Mougins, France
7. Saint Catherine Institut, Avignon, France
8. Curie cancer center, Paris, France
9. Paoli Calmettes Institut, INSERM UMR 599, Marseille, France
10. Roche Affiliate, Paris, France
11. Leon Berrad anti cancer center Lyon, France

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Pivot X, Rixe O, Morere JF, Coscas Y, Cals L, Namer M, Serin D, Dolbeault S, Eisinger F, Roussel C, Blay JY. Breast cancer screening in France: results of the EDIFICE survey. Int J Med Sci 2008; 5(3):106-112. doi:10.7150/ijms.5.106. Available from

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Background: The EDIFICE survey aimed to investigate the compliance of the general population to the screening tests available in France for the 4 most common cancers: breast, colorectal, prostate and lung. Implementation of breast cancer screening has been generalized in France since 2003: women aged between 50 and 74 years are systematically invited to perform a mammography every second year. Results pertaining to breast cancer are reported hereafter.

Methods: This nationwide observational survey was carried out in France from 18 January to 2 February 2005 among representative samples of 773 women aged between 40 and 75 years and 600 general practitioners (GPs). Information collected included socio-demographic characteristics, attitude towards cancer screening and actual experience of cancer screening, as well as GPs' practice regarding screening. The precision of the results is ± 4.3% for a 95% confidence interval.

Results: Among the 507 participating women aged between 50 and 74 years, 92.5% (469/507) had undergone at least one mammography: 54.6% (256/469) underwent this test on their own initiative and 44.6% (209/469) of women performed it in the framework of a systematic screening plan. Most women participating in the systematic screening (89.0% i.e. 186/209) had a mammography within the last dating from less than 2 years versus 73.8% (189/256) of those who performed it outside the screening program (Chi2 test; p<0.01). Interestingly, 422 women (61.9% i.e. 422/682 women aged between 40-75 years with at least one mammography) had performed a mammography before the recommended age for screening. There was a significant correlation (p = 0.009) between the existence of a first mammography before 50 years of age and subsequent screening on women's own initiative (54.6% of 469 screened women). Main reasons for not performing the screening test every second year (77 women aged between 50-74 years) included: feeling unconcerned and/or unmotivated (p = 0.0001), no cancer anxiety (p = 0.020) and no recommendation by the GP (p = 0.015); Of the 600 participating GPs, 68.6% (412/600) systematically recommended a mammography to their patients. GPs' perceptions of the reasons for women's avoidance of the screening test were unwillingness to be aware of mammography results (44.4% - 266/600) and the belief that mammography was painful (52.5% - 315/600).

Conclusion: The main result of the EDIFICE survey is the high rate of women's attendance at mammography screening. The EDIFICE survey pointed out that systematic and organized screening played a major role in the regularity of screening tests for breast cancer every second year. GPs and gynaecologist are key actors in heightening public awareness.

Keywords: Breast cancer, screening, Survey, mammography