National expenditure for false-positive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnoses estimated at $ 4 billion a year

Mei Sing Ong, Kenneth D. Mandl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Populationwide mammography screening has been associated with a substantial rise in false-positive mammography findings and breast cancer overdiagnosis. However, there is a lack of current data on the associated costs in the United States. We present costs due to falsepositive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnoses among women ages 40-59, based on expenditure data from a major US health care insurance plan for 702,154 women in the years 2011-13. The average expenditures for each false-positive mammogram, invasive breast cancer, and ductal carcinoma in situ in the twelve months following diagnosis were $852, $51,837 and $12,369, respectively. This translates to a national cost of $4 billion each year. The costs associated with false-positive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnoses appear to be much higher than previously documented. Screening has the potential to save lives. However, the economic impact of false-positive mammography results and breast cancer overdiagnoses must be considered in the debate about the appropriate populations for screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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