The National Health Service (NHS) routinely offers breast screening every three years to all UK women aged 50-70. This has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer, but little is known about the effects of screening outside the age range 50-70. The AgeX trial will assess the effects of offering an additional screen to women aged 47-49 and, separately, of offering an additional screen to women aged 71-73.
Between 2009 and 2020, over four million women entered into the trial with around half being offered an additional screen. All women in the trial are followed for outcomes, such as breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and mortality, through electronic linkage to routinely collected NHS health records. This allows the study team to compare outcomes in women offered an additional screen with those in women not offered an additional screen.
Follow-up by electronic linkage to routinely collected NHS health records will continue throughout the 2020s and beyond. For breast cancer mortality the first report is scheduled to be on the follow-up to 2026, after which there will be subsequent reports on longer follow-up.
The additional screening for the trial was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. The team at the University of Oxford serves as the co-ordinating centre for the trial. It includes staff funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the Medical Research Council, and Cancer Research UK.