Cost‐effectiveness of mammographic screening in Australia

Rob Carter*, Paul Glasziou, Gerrit van Oortmarssen, Harry de Koning, Chris Stevenson, Glenn Salkeld, Rob Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this research was to estimate the cost‐effectiveness of mammographic screening to supplement the results of the National Evaluation of Breast Cancer Screening which identified the mortality benefit as the most sensitive parameter. This appraisal used a different computer model, MISCAN, which models the effects of introducing a national screening program into a previously unscreened population, rather than basing estimates on the assumption of a fully established program. For the 40 to 49 age group a mortality reduction of 8 per cent was assumed, rather than the 30 per cent estimate utilised in the National Evaluation. The revised estimate is based on the two Swedish trials (Malmo and WE). New estimates for treatment costs were also incorporated into the MISCAN model. The cost‐effectiveness of the policy recommended in the National Evaluation Report, $11 000 per life year saved with two‐yearly screening of women over 40, is estimated by the MISCAN model to be dollar;20 300. These differences arise partly from the difference in mortality effects for the 40 to 49 age group, but also from differences inherent in the steady‐state and dynamic population approaches to modelling premature deaths averted. The MISCAN results confirm that screening for women over 50 is more cost‐effective than screening women under 50. Screening all women aged 50 to 69 every two to three years is reasonable value for money. For women aged 40 to 49 the mortality benefit and cost‐effectiveness is less clear, and it would be prudent to allow screening in this group until further evidence is available. 1993 Public Health Association of Australia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes


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