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About ICSN: Overview | Participating Countries | Contact Us | Fact Sheet (PDF, 341 KB)

Overview of the International Cancer Screening Network

The International Cancer Screening Network (ICSN) is a voluntary consortium of countries that have active population-based cancer screening programs and active efforts to evaluate and improve the processes and outcomes from cancer screening in practice. The ICSN includes efforts to evaluate cancer screening for a number of cancers where screening has been demonstrated to be effective, including breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung. These programs can be national or subnational in scope, and established or pilot-based. Administered by the Applied Research Program of the US National Cancer Institute, the consortium was established in December 1988 as the International Breast Cancer Screening Database Project during an international workshop involving representatives from 11 countries. The consortium has since grown to encompass 33 countries, and holds biennial meetings. In the interim, the specific activities are moved forward through working groups.

The initial purpose of the ICSN was to generate a database for the evaluation of screening mammography programs. In 1997, the group decided to shift its focus from creating a common database to collaborative efforts aimed at understanding how to:

  1. use and compare data from screening mammography programs internationally; and
  2. develop methods for evaluating the impact of population-based breast cancer screening programs.

In keeping with this realignment of purpose, in 1997 the group changed its name to the International Breast Cancer Screening Network. As work of the group grew to encompass colorectal and cervical cancer screening, it was renamed the International Cancer Screening Network.

The ICSN is dedicated to collaborative research aimed at identifying and fostering efficient and effective approaches to cancer control world-wide through population-based screening. It does not address efficacy or use clinical trial data. Participation in the ICSN is open to any country that has initiated a population-based cancer screening program.

The current co-chairs of the ICSN include Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA, Elsebeth Lynge, M.Sc., Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Prof. John Boyages, Macquarie University Cancer Institute.

This is an official National Cancer Institute web site. The content is created and approved by NCI. For more information about the ICSN, contact Alyssa Grauman.