To determine the best screening frequency the ECIBC's Guidelines Development Group (GDG) compared 3 different frequencies (annual, biennial and triennial) against each other for each age range.

Healthcare question

Should annual vs. triennial mammography screening be used for early detection of breast cancer in women aged 50 to 69?


For asymptomatic women aged 50 to 69 with an average risk of breast cancer, the ECIBC's Guidelines Development Group (GDG) recommends against annual mammography, in the context of an organised screening programme.

Recommendation strength ­

  Strong recommendation against the intervention

  Very low certainty of the evidence

Considerations for implementation and policy making

The GDG does not feel that annual screening programmes are currently in place in any jurisdictions in Europe and therefore there would be no implementation considerations for this strong recommendation.

Research priorities

1. The GDG agreed that more research on the effectiveness of the different screening intervals, comparative studies, would be helpful due to the very low certainty of the evidence.

2. The GDG felt that increased cost effectiveness data, having more contextualised costs and cost-effectiveness analysis and from other settings would be helpful for future recommendations; this included checking the consistency of cost-effectiveness models with new research from trials on breast cancer screening and natural history of breast cancer disease. Also many countries have cost analysis but they are in the "grey literature" and not publicly available, and this should be shared with the scientific community.

Supporting documents