The world's second most common form of cancer after lung cancer, over one million women develop breast cancer every year. This leads to the highest number of cancer-related deaths for women across the planet. The developed world has been actively chasing down breast cancer over a couple of decades, and many countries have national screening programmes. The aim of these programmes is to detect breast cancer in the early stages, when the chances of recovery are higher.
In 2005, the IARC reported that breast cancer accounted for 1 in 8 of the total cancers within Europe and qualified it as one of the big four killers, along with lung, colorectal and stomach cancer. By 2002, research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) showed that the reduction in the mortality rate from breast cancer in women between 50-69 who chose to participate in a screening programme was around 35%. And although much progress has been made in reducing mortality through mass breast screening, there is room still for further optimisation.
This research paper: Breast Cancer Screening Services: Trade-offs in Quality, Capacity, Outreach, and Centralization, looks at how efficiency could be augmented through a more integrated approach. INSEAD Professor Stephen Chick of Technology and Operations Management, and Professors Evrim Gunes and Zeynep Aksin of Koc University open up a line of research that is more inclusive, taking into account the interaction between the diverse criteria that make up a screening programme. In particular the study deals with issues within the American and French health systems. Four major simulation experiments are undertaken on two types of service; screening and follow-up diagnostic tests: