Background: The observed increase in sojourn time for preclinical breast carcinoma raises the question of whether women age >/= 65 years can be screened less frequently than younger women.
Methods: A cost-utility analysis using a computer model that simulates the demography, epidemiology, and natural history of breast carcinoma to estimate expected life-years gained, extra incidence, extra life-years with disease, and costs incurred by different breast carcinoma screening programs in the general population was conducted.
Results: The estimated ratio of favorable/unfavorable effects was lower for longer screening intervals compared with shorter screening intervals. The cost-effectiveness ratio was much less favorable in shorter screening intervals.
Conclusions: The results of the current analysis showed that although a longer sojourn time for preclinical breast carcinoma should not necessarily be accompanied by a longer screening interval, a shorter screening interval was not very efficient.
Copyright 1999 American Cancer Society.