Within this survey, conducted by the Italian Group of Mammography Screening (GISMa), individual data are collected yearly on more than 50% of all screen-detected operated lesions in Italy. In 2005, results showed overall good diagnosis and treatment quality, and an improving trend over time. Critical issues were identified in waiting times, compliance with the recommendations on not performing frozen section examination on small lesions and on performing specimen X-ray. Pre-operative diagnosis has reached the acceptable target, but room for improvement still exists. The sentinel lymph node technique (SLN) was performed on the axilla in more than 70% of screen-detected invasive cancers, avoiding a large number of potentially harmful dissections. On the other hand, potential overuse of SLN deserves further investigation. The detailed results have been distributed to local and regional screening programmes in order to allow multidisciplinary discussion and the identification of appropriate solutions to any problems documented by the data. Specialist Breast Units with adequate case volume would provide the best setting for making audit effective in producing quality improvement.
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