what participation of women in 2021?

Breast cancer: the importance of early detection to reduce mortality

Breast cancer is responsible for a third of all new cancers in women. It is the most common cancer in women in France and the leading cause of cancer death with 12,146 deaths in 2018. It is the subject of an organized national screening program to detect early and reduce mortality.

Of the known risk factors for breast cancer, modifiable lifestyle factors have been identified, including alcohol consumption, smoking, overweight/obesity and lack of physical activity. In metropolitan France, it is estimated that about 15.1% of breast cancers in women over 30 in 2015 were attributable to alcohol consumption and 4.4% to smoking. [Circ 2018]. According to the same study, 10.6% of postmenopausal breast cancers (women over 50) were attributable to overweight and obesity.

Breast cancer screening: a slight increase in participation in 2021, catching up with the decline in 2020 but remaining lower than in previous periods


million women had an organized screening mammogram by 2021

In 2021, 2.7 million women had an organized screening mammogram, corresponding to a national participation rate of 50.6% (compared to 42.6% in 2020). While participation in 2021 partially made up for the 2020 deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and incarcerations, participation for 2020-2021 (46.6%) remains lower than for 2018-2019 ( 49.1%) for all age groups, all metropolitan areas and almost all departments. Since women are invited for screening every two years, it is necessary to look at the data for periods of two rolling years.

COVID-19 likely continued to disrupt breast cancer screening in 2021, but the overall decline in screening seen in all age groups and regions since 2012 may continue. Other possible explanations include the impact of the controversy over the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening, the decrease in the supply of senology leading to difficulties in performing mammograms, as well as the increase in the time between screenings.

It should be noted that organized screening represents only part of the practice of screening in France, and some women do it outside of the recommendations.

Evolution of participation in organized breast cancer screening, by age – Period 2005-2021

Regional differences noted and very low participation in Ile-de-France and in the south-east

The participation for the period 2020-2021 varies from 21.4% in French Guiana to 53.6% in Centre-Val de Loire. We see the same geographic gradient as for the previous periods, with the highest participation levels from Brittany to the Rhône-Alpes region, and very low participation in Ile-de-France (36.7%) and in the south-east (36.1% in PACA).

In 2021, participation by department ranges from 29.2% in Guyana to 65.7% in Savoie. For the period 2020-2021, it ranges from 21.4% in Guyana to 58.0% in Côte d’Or and Indre-et-Loire.

Reduce risk factors thanks to our prevention systems

Public Health France has set up several systems that are accessible to everyone. Understanding health issues, reducing risks, modifying behaviour… find all the information and resources in our files and our dedicated websites related to:

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