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Free Content Costs, effects and cost‐effectiveness of breast cancer control in Ghana

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Objective  Breast cancer control in Ghana is characterised by low awareness, late‐stage treatment and poor survival. In settings with severely constrained health resources, there is a need to spend money wisely. To achieve this and to guide policy makers in their selection of interventions, this study systematically compares costs and effects of breast cancer control interventions in Ghana.

Methods  We used a mathematical model to estimate costs and health effects of breast cancer interventions in Ghana from the healthcare perspective. Analyses were based on the WHO‐CHOICE method, with health effects expressed in disability‐adjusted life years (DALYs), costs in 2009 US dollars (US$) and cost‐effectiveness ratios (CERs) in US$ per DALY averted. Analyses were based on local demographic, epidemiological and economic data, to the extent these data were available.

Results  Biennial screening by clinical breast examination (CBE) of women aged 40–69 years, in combination with treatment of all stages, seems the most cost‐effective intervention (costing $1299 per DALY averted). The intervention is also economically attractive according to international standards on cost‐effectiveness. Mass media awareness raising (MAR) is the second best option (costing $1364 per DALY averted). Mammography screening of women of aged 40–69 years (costing $12 908 per DALY averted) cannot be considered cost‐effective.

Conclusions  Both CBE screening and MAR seem economically attractive interventions. Given the uncertainty about the effectiveness of these interventions, only their phased introduction, carefully monitored and evaluated, is warranted. Moreover, their implementation is only meaningful if the capacity of basic cancer diagnostic, referral and treatment and possibly palliative services is simultaneously improved.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands 2:  Disease Control and Prevention Department, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana 3:  Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana 4:  Institute for Medical Technology Assessment and Institute for Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam,Rotterdam, the Netherlands 5:  Costs, Effectiveness, Expenditure and Priority Setting, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 6: Chronic Diseases Prevention and Management, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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