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Cancer. 1998 Jun 1;82(11):2235-40.

Screening mammography beginning at age 40 years: a reappraisal of cost-effectiveness.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento 95817, USA.



Several recent studies have added significant information regarding the benefit of screening mammography, especially in the 40-49-years age group. This new information makes it important to reassess the cost-effectiveness of screening.


A Markov model was used to study the cost-effectiveness of 4 age-related screening strategies: 1) annually from ages 40-79 years; 2) annually from ages 40-64 years and biennially from ages 65-79 years; 3) annually from ages 40-49 years and biennially from ages 50-79 years; and 4) annually from ages 40-79 years in high risk women (10%) and biennially from ages 40-49 years followed by annually from ages 50 -79 years in normal risk women (90%). An additional strategy simulating hormone status and estrogen exposure was evaluated. Cost-effectiveness was expressed as marginal cost per year-life saved (MCYLS).


The MCYLS varied from $18,800 to $16,100. For all strategies this was within the range of other generally acceptable diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures. There was a 14% decrease in MCYLS from the least cost-effective to the most cost-effective strategy.


Cost-effectiveness of four age-related mammographic screening strategies was evaluated. The MCYLS for all strategies was within a generally accepted range. With increasing concerns regarding the cost of health care, this information may be useful in health policy decision-making.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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