Mette Kalager

Dr. Kalager was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on Mammograms.

Dr. Mette Kalager is a post-doctoral researcher at Telemark Hospital, Norway, and visiting scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Kalager is a trained surgeon and has been working at Telemark Hospital and Oslo University Hospital as a general surgeon and breast cancer surgeon. She also has training from general practice.

From 2004 to 2006, she was the head of the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program, a public screening program offering biennial mammography to women aged 50-69 years old. In addition to mammography screening, the program focuses on quality of care, and requires that all hospitals within the program establish multidisciplinary breast units, where specialized radiologists, radiologic technologists, pathologists, surgeons, oncologists, and nurses manage the care of all patients, regardless of age. During her years as a surgeon and later as the head of the breast cancer screening program, Dr. Kalager became interested in issues of the reorganization of breast cancer care and its significance on the effects of mammography screening programs.

Dr. Kalager’s doctoral thesis focuses on mammography screening and its effect on mortality from breast cancer, and the relative amount of overdiagnosis of breast cancer in screening programs. She recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine a widely cited landmark paper on the effect of a Norwegian breast cancer screening program.

She is a member of the board of the Norwegian breast cancer diagnostic and treatment registry at the Cancer Registry of Norway, a newly established database where individual diagnostic and treatment are registered continuously. Dr. Kalager has been a reviewer in numerous international peer review journals.

A primary focus of Dr. Kalager’s research is screening for cancer. Her emphasis is on the information about screening. She asserts that the pros and cons of screening must be emphasized equally and the decision to undergo screening should be based upon information given to each individual.

Dr. Kalager earned her degree in medicine from the University of Oslo. Dr Kalager speaks Norwegian, English, and Germany.