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Costs of breast cancer and the cost-effectiveness of breast cancer screening.

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  • 1U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer among women in the United States. The total cost of illness for breast cancer has been estimated to be $3.8 billion, of which $1.8 billion represents medical care costs. It has been estimated that breast cancer detected early is considerably less expensive than when the tumor is discovered at a later stage. Mass screening using mammography can improve early detection by as much as 15-35%. Cost-effectiveness studies have estimated that the costs of breast cancer screening range between $13,200 and $28,000 per year of life saved. The cost-effectiveness of breast cancer screening in the 40-49-year-old age group is controversial. Mass screening for breast cancer will probably increase total health care costs, but when all economic costs are included, screening appears to be more cost-effective than not screening.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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