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Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2000 Aug;48(4):333-40.

[Breast cancer screening and medical consumption].

[Article in French]

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Département de Santé Publique, Faculté de Médecine, 2, avenue du Professeur Léon Bernard, CS 34317, 35043 RENNES Cedex.



The use of general health services by women targeted by breast cancer screening campaigns, and its variations, are poorly known. A survey has been undertaken during one of these campaigns in a britton department. This study aimed at pointing out possible differences in use of general health services: search for an overuse by women whose screening resulted positive/negative, in relation to women whose screening resulted full negative; search for an overuse by women having participated, in relation to women within the age range of the screening campaign and not having wished to participate.


Three groups of women, aged 50 to 69 years, free of breast cancer, were compared. A random sample was drawn in each group, weighing for age in group D0. Inclusion of cases was undertaken between January 1995 (beginning of the screening campaign) and June 1996. Use of health services was recorded during the six months following the first screening test, using the health insurance services data. Expenses related to inpatient care were not recorded.


The structure of age of the three groups was comparable. The proportion of women having requested no reimbursement was identical between the groups D+ and D-. For the D+ group, the average cost was 4,246 Francs per woman. It dropped to 3,871 Francs after deduction of expenses related to additional medical examinations following the finding of a positive screening test. It was 5% higher than the average cost in the D- group (3,698 Francs). The cost varied a great deal within each group and the differences observed between the groups were not statistically significant The proportion of women of the D0 group not having requested any reimbursement was significantly lower than those of the groups D- and D+, overall, and for the majority of the categories of expenditure.


The result of the screening does not induce significant variation of use of general health services, apart from the expenses induced by the invalidation of the positive result. The group of women not having participated in screening includes a stronger proportion of both low and higher health services users.

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