Economic evaluations of mammography to screen for breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review

J Glob Health. 2022 Jul 16:12:04048. doi: 10.7189/jogh.12.04048.


Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have limited resources compared to high-income countries (HICs). Therefore, it is critical that LMICs implement cost-effective strategies to reduce the burden of breast cancer. This study aimed to answer the question of whether mammography is a cost-effective breast cancer screening method in LMICs.

Methods: A systematic article search was conducted through Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Econlit. Studies were included only if they conducted a full economic evaluation and focused on mammography screening in LMICs. Two reviewers screened through the title and abstract of each article and continued with full-text selection. Data were extracted and synthesized narratively. Quality assessment for each included study was conducted using the Consensus Health Economic Criteria (CHEC) extended checklist.

Results: This review identified 21 studies economically evaluating mammography as a breast cancer screening method in LMICs. Eighteen of these studies concluded that mammography screening was a cost-effective strategy. Most studies (71%) were conducted in upper-middle-income countries (Upper MICs). The quality of the studies varied from low to good. Important factors determining cost-effectiveness are the target age group (eg, 50-59 years), the screening interval (eg, biennial or triennial), as well as any combination with other breast cancer control strategies (eg, combination with treatment strategy for breast cancer patients).

Conclusions: Mammography screening appeared to be a cost-effective strategy in LMICs, particularly in Upper MICs. More studies conducted in lower-middle-income and low-income countries are needed to better understand the cost-effectiveness of mammography screening in these regions.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged