Cost-effectiveness of mammography, MRI, and ultrasonography for breast cancer screening

Radiol Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;48(5):879-91. doi: 10.1016/j.rcl.2010.06.002.


Screening mammography performed annually on all women beginning at age 40 years has reduced breast cancer deaths by 30% to 50%. The cost per year of life saved is well within the range for other commonly accepted medical interventions. Various studies have estimated that reduction in treatment costs through early screening detection may be 30% to 100% or more of the cost of screening. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening is also cost-effective for very high-risk women, such as BRCA carriers, and others at 20% or greater lifetime risk. Further studies are needed to determine whether MRI is cost-effective for those at moderately high (15%-20%) lifetime risk. Future technical advances could make MRI more cost-effective than it is today. Automated whole-breast ultrasonography will probably prove cost-effective as a supplement to mammography for women with dense breasts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / economics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diagnostic Imaging / economics*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / economics*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / economics
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mammography / economics
  • Mammography / methods
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary / economics
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary / methods
  • United States