Publication Abstract

Authors: Beemsterboer PM, de Koning HJ, Warmerdam PG, Boer R, Swart E, Dierks ML, Robra BP

Title: Prediction of the effects and costs of breast-cancer screening in Germany.

Journal: Int J Cancer 58(5):623-8

Date: 1994 Sep 01

Abstract: Although breast-cancer screening programmes are now being introduced it is still debated whether this is an appropriate policy for all European countries. Taking into account empirical data from 2 regional pilot screening projects, this study has evaluated the effects and costs of a nationwide breast-cancer screening programme in Germany. Special attention was paid to the decentralized German health-care system and to the influence of attendance, interval and age group. The recent results of the analysis of the Swedish randomized screening trials were used to estimate the improvement in prognosis after early detection of breast cancer. Our analysis shows that a programme providing for the screening of women aged 50-69 at 2-year intervals might be expected to result in a decrease in mortality from breast cancer estimated at 11% for the total German population, representing 2,100 deaths from breast cancer prevented each year. The cost per life-year gained was assessed at between DM 18,800 and DM 25,300 for this scenario; 2 to 3 times less favourable than in the UK and The Netherlands. The sensitivity of mammography was estimated to be 12% lower than in The Netherlands and the attendance rate was calculated at 47% on average. A greater effort to ensure the quality of the screening programme and to improve the invitation system might finally lead to much better results. The mortality reduction might be as much as 18% if the attendance and the sensitivity of the screening could be improved to the Dutch level.