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Cost‐effectiveness of high‐sensitivity faecal immunochemical test and colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer.

Published: 31st May 2017

Authors: M. Aronsson, P. Carlsson, L.‐Å. Levin, J. Hager, R. Hultcrantz

Background

Colorectal cancer screening can decrease morbidity and mortality. However, there are widespread differences in the implementation of programmes and choice of strategy. The primary objective of this study was to estimate lifelong costs and health outcomes of two of the currently most preferred methods of screening for colorectal cancer: colonoscopy and sensitive faecal immunochemical test (FIT).

Method

A cost‐effectiveness analysis of colorectal cancer screening in a Swedish population was performed using a decision analysis model, based on the design of the Screening of Swedish Colons (SCREESCO) study, and data from the published literature and registries. Lifelong cost and effects of colonoscopy once, colonoscopy every 10 years, FIT twice, FIT biennially and no screening were estimated using simulations.

Results

For 1000 individuals invited to screening, it was estimated that screening once with colonoscopy yielded 49 more quality‐adjusted life‐years (QALYs) and a cost saving of €64 800 compared with no screening. Similarly, screening twice with FIT gave 26 more QALYs and a cost saving of €17 600. When the colonoscopic screening was repeated every tenth year, 7 additional QALYs were gained at a cost of €189 400 compared with a single colonoscopy. The additional gain with biennial FIT screening was 25 QALYs at a cost of €154 300 compared with two FITs.

Conclusion

All screening strategies were cost‐effective compared with no screening. Repeated and single screening strategies with colonoscopy were more cost‐effective than FIT when lifelong effects and costs were considered. However, other factors such as patient acceptability of the test and availability of human resources also have to be taken into account.

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