Objectives To summarize participation and coverage rates in population mammographic screening programmes for breast cancer in Europe. Methods We used the European Network for Information on Cancer (EUNICE), a web-based data warehouse (EUNICE Breast Cancer Screening Monitoring, EBCSM) for breast cancer screening, to obtain information on programme characteristics, coverage and participation from its initial application in 10 national and 16 regional programmes in 18 European countries. Results The total population targeted by the screening programme services covered in the report comprised 26.9 million women predominantly aged 50-69. Most of the collected data relates to 2005, 2006 and/or 2007. The average participation rate across all programmes was 53.4% (range 19.4-88.9% of personally invited); or 66.4% excluding Poland, a large programme that initiated personal invitations in 2007. Thirteen of the 26 programmes achieved the European Union benchmark of acceptable participation (>70%), nine achieved the desirable level (>75%). Despite considerable invitation coverage across all programmes (79.3%, range 50.9-115.2%) only 48.2% (range 28.4-92.1%) of the target population were actually screened. The overall invitation and examination coverage excluding Poland was 70.9% and 50.3%, respectively. Conclusions The results demonstrate the feasibility of European-wide screening monitoring using the EBCSM data warehouse, although further efforts to refine the system and to harmonize standards and data collection practices will be required, to fully integrate all European countries. The more than threefold difference in the examination coverage should be taken into account in the evaluation of service screening programmes.
2012. Vol. 19, 72-82 p.