Cost-effectiveness of targeted and tailored interventions on colorectal cancer screening use

Cancer. 2008 Feb 15;112(4):779-88. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23232.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is cost-effective but underused. The objective of this study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of targeted and tailored behavioral interventions to increase CRC screening use by conducting an economic analysis associated with a randomized trial among patients in a large, racially and ethnically diverse, urban family practice in Philadelphia.

Methods: The incremental costs per unit increase were measured in individuals who were screened during the 24 months after intervention. Percent increase in screening was adjusted for baseline differences in the study groups. Each intervention arm received a targeted screening invitation letter, stool blood test (SBT) cards, informational booklet, and reminder letter. Tailored interventions incrementally added tailored messages and reminder telephone calls.

Results: Program costs of the targeted intervention were 42 dollars per participant. Additional costs of adding tailored print materials and of delivering a reminder telephone call were 150 dollars and 200 dollars per participant, respectively. The cost per additional individual screened was 319 dollars when comparing the no intervention group with the targeted intervention group.

Conclusions: The targeted intervention was more effective and less costly than the tailored intervention. Although tailoring plus reminder telephone call was the most effective strategy, it was very costly per additional individual screened. Mailed SBT cards significantly boosted CRC screening use. However, going beyond the targeted intervention to include tailoring or tailoring plus reminder calls in the manner used in this study did not appear to be an economically attractive strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Preventive Health Services / economics
  • Preventive Health Services / methods