Cost-effective mammography screening in Korea: high incidence of breast cancer in young women

Cancer Sci. 2009 Jun;100(6):1105-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2009.01147.x. Epub 2009 Mar 2.


The epidemiological characteristics of breast cancer in Korean women are different from the characteristics reported in Western women. The highest incidence rate occurs in Korean women in their 40s. The purpose of this study was to determine the most cost-effective screening interval and target age range for Korean women from the perspective of the national healthcare system. A stochastic model was used to simulate breast cancer screenings by varying both the screening intervals and the age ranges. The effectiveness of mammography screening was defined as the probability of detecting breast cancer in the preclinical state and the cost was based on the direct cost of mammography screening and the confirmative tests. The age-specific mean sojourn times and the sensitivity of the mammography were applied in the stochastic model. An optimal cost-effectiveness was determined by the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio and lifetime schedule sensitivity. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken to assess parameter uncertainty. The selected cost-effective strategies were: (1) the current biennial mammography screenings for women who are at least 40 years old; (2) biennial screening for women between the ages of 35 and 75 years; and (3) a combination strategy consisting of biennial screening for women aged between 45 and 54 years, and 3-year interval screening for women aged between 40 and 44 years and 55 and 65 years. Further studies should follow to investigate the effectiveness of mammography screening in women younger than 40 years in Asia as well as in Korea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Mammography / economics*
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult