Background and objective

The monitoring and evaluation of breast cancer screening programme is necessary to ensure that the programmes are as effective as expected. Within the scope of ECIBC, breast cancer screening programme performance indicators were identified.


The indicators were identified as follows:

  1. Scoping review to identify existing performance indicators
  2. Development of a specific conceptual framework upon existing frameworks for making well-informed health care choices, to guide the indicator selection
  3. Rating and ranking survey among the experts for the indicator selection using pre-determined criteria: relevance, measurability, accuracy, ethics and understandability
  4. Mapping of the selected indicators onto a breast cancer screening pathway to illustrate the steps common to EU countries with screening programmes in place (from identification of population eligible for screening to the decision for treatment or follow-up)


A total of 96 indicators were identified from an initial list of 1,325 indicators. After removing redundant and irrelevant indicators and adding those missing for some steps of the pathway, 39 candidate indicators underwent the rating and ranking exercise.

Based on the results 13 indicators were selected. They are presented in the paper published by JRC, and collaborators: "Monitoring and evaluation of breast cancer screening programmes: selecting candidate performance indicators." BMC Cancer 20, 795 (2020).

Next steps

This systematic approach led to the identification of 13 breast cancer screening programme candidate performance indicators to be further evaluated for their association with breast cancer mortality. Based on the results, the acceptable and desirable levels for these indicators will be defined, where applicable.

This systematic and transparent process can be applied to developing indicators for other programmes, as needed.

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