Colorectal cancer screening in Australia: an economic evaluation of a potential biennial screening program using faecal occult blood tests
Stone, Christine, Carter, Robert, Vos, Theo and St John, James 2004, Colorectal cancer screening in Australia: an economic evaluation of a potential biennial screening program using faecal occult blood tests, Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 273-282.
Australian and New Zealand journal of public health
Public Health Association of Australia
Place of publication
Objective: To evaluate whether the introduction of a national, co-ordinated screening program using the faecal occult blood test represents 'value-for-money' from the perspective of the Australian Government as third-party funder. Methods: The annual equivalent costs and consequences of a biennial screening program in 'steady-state' operation were estimated for the Australian population using 1996 as the reference year. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and the years of life lost (YLLs) averted, and the health service costs were modelled, based on the epidemiology and the costs of colorectal cancer in Australia together with the mortality reduction achieved in randomised controlled trials. Uncertainty in the model was examined using Monte Carlo simulation methods. Results: We estimate a minimum or 'base program' of screening those aged 55 to 69 years could avert 250 deaths per annum (95% uncertainty interval 99–400), at a gross cost of $A55 million (95% UI $A46 million to $A96 million) and a gross incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $A17,000/DALY (95% UI $A13,000/DALY to $A52,000/DALY). Extending the program to include 70 to 74-year-olds is a more effective option (cheaper and higher health gain) than including the 50 to 54-year-olds. Conclusions: The findings of this study support the case for a national program directed at the 55 to 69-year-old age group with extension to 70 to 74-year-olds if there are sufficient resources. The pilot tests recently announced in Australia provide an important opportunity to consider the age range for screening and the sources of uncertainty, identified in the modelled evaluation, to assist decisions on implementing a full national program.
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Field of Research
111299 Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified
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