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Low-Income Women's Cancer Screenings Cost Effective: Report
Date:12/21/2007

Total cost about $555, government analysis shows.,,

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Screening tests for breast and cervical cancer for under- or uninsured low-income U.S. women cost about $150 annually per woman screened, according to a new government analysis.

The total cost per woman each year, including administrative, quality assurance, education and outreach is about $555, according to the analysis of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

"This program basically does more than just screening -- it also provides funds for outreach, data collection, quality assurance, professional development, case management and evaluation," said one of the study's authors, James Gardner, a public health analyst at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cost of treating a cancer detected by this screening program averaged $10,566 for breast cancer and $13,340 for cervical cancer.

"The thing you can take away from this study is that you can actually penetrate into a group of uninsured people, provide the care, get them into the system and treat them in a very cost-effective manner," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. "This program is doing a world of service, and this is a government program that needs to be expanded, not contracted."

This cost analysis comes on the heels of another study from the American Cancer Society that found women who are uninsured are more likely to die from cancer than are women with health insurance. Just 10 percent to 15 percent of privately insured women are diagnosed with late-stage (stage III or IV) breast cancer, compared to 20 percent to 30 percent of women who lack health insurance, that study reported Thursday.

It's not clear from the new analysis what the cost-savings might be if women who were screened were compared to women who weren't screened and were later found to
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