Cost of a population-based programme of chest x-ray screening for lung cancer

Submitted: November 25, 2015
Accepted: November 25, 2015
Published: November 25, 2015
Abstract Views: 988
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Background. After the implementation of a population- based programme of chest x-ray (CXR) screening on smokers in Varese, Italy, lung cancer (LC) mortality was significantly reduced. Analysis of the incremental costs due to this type of screening programme is needed to evaluate its economic impact on the healthcare system. Methods. In July 1997 a population-based cohort, consisting of all high-risk smokers (n=5,815) identified among 60,000 adult residents from the Varese province, was invited to a LC screening programme (an annual CXR for five years) in a general practice setting, and was observed through 2006. Invitees received National Health Service (NHS) usual care, with the addition of CXRs in screening participants. At the end of observation, among the 245 LCs diagnosed in the entire screening-invited cohort the observed LC deaths were 38 fewer than expected. To estimate the incremental direct cost due to screening in the invited cohort for the period July 1997-2006, we compared the direct cost of screening administration, CXR screens and LC management in the invited cohort and in the uninvited and unscreened controls in NHS usual care setting. Results. Over the 9.5 years, the total incremental direct healthcare costs (including screening organization/administration, CXR screens, additional procedures prompted by false-positive tests, overdiagnosed LCs) were estimated to range from € 607,440 to € 618,370 (in euros as of 2012), equating to between € 15,985- € 16,273 per patient out of the 38 LC deaths averted. Conclusions. In a general practice setting, the incremental cost for a CXR screening programme targeted at all high-risk smokers in a population of 60,000 adults was estimated to be about €65,000 per annum, approx. €16,000 for each LC death averted.

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Dominioni, L., N. Rotolo, A. Poli, M. Castiglioni, M. Mangini, M. Spagnoletti, M. Paolucci, A. Paddeu, W. Mantovani, A. Zanini, and A. Imperatori. 2015. “Cost of a Population-Based Programme of Chest X-Ray Screening for Lung Cancer”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 79 (2). https://doi.org/10.4081/monaldi.2013.94.