Cancer screening and mortality



Cancer screening detects asymptomatic tumors and targets disease burden with its unfavorable consequences. Evidence of screening effects on mortality is essential for planning organized cancer control activity. In order to evaluate these effects, common terminology and clear definitions of interventions and outcomes studied in the screening research are required. Theoretical knowledge of disease natural history, evidence from screening trials, including their strengths, limitations and hidden biases is also essential for proper interpretation and comparing benefits and harms. There is sufficient and interpretable evidence with regards to cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer screening. Additional research would facilitate putting the results of lung cancer and prostate cancer trials into practice. There is insufficient or limited evidence of screening with regards to other cancer types.