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Open Access Evaluating the effectiveness of a novel screening method for gastric cancer – the ABC method

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The ABC method and its introduction is potentially imminent in Japan, where gastric cancer is even more prevalent than other developed countries. Before the ABC method can be introduced nationwide, its effectiveness needs to be evaluated. This is the work of Assistant Professor Shota Saito of the Department of Health Informatics, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Japan. He has examined the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the ABC method using a variety of programming models. He constructed a probability model capable of comparing the ABC method with endoscopy in two key areas – lifetime expected cost and life-years saved with the method. This model includes all the relevant epidemiological data on gastric cancer for 40-60 year olds and processes it for both scenarios to project the likely effectiveness of both methods. Following this modelling process, Saito has been able to show that the ABC method is a far more cost-effective method of screening for gastric cancer. The ABC method came in at a mere 46 per cent of the cost of annual endoscopies. In addition, whilst both methods saved lives, the ABC method was even marginally more effective on this front. Saito's results show the ABC method is likely to save both money and lives, however, that does not mean endoscopy should be dropped altogether. It is a key part of the diagnosis kit and can help give a much clearer picture than the ABC method in high-risk individuals. However, it is clear that annual endoscopies are not essential for all individuals over 40. On the back of this modelling, it is highly likely that Japan will switch to the ABC method soon. Saito's results show the value in both money and lives that cost-effectiveness analyses can have when tackling disease. The same sorts of analyses can be applied to multiple different diseases in the future.
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Keywords: ABC METHOD; EFFECTIVENESS AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ABC METHOD; ENDOSCOPY; GASTRIC CANCER; LEVEL OF PEPSINOGEN IN THE BLOOD SERUM; LIFE-YEARS SAVED; LIFETIME EXPECTED COST; PRESENCE OF HELICOBACTER PYLORI (H. PYLORI); PROBABILITY MODEL; RISK GROUPS; SCREENING FOR GASTRIC CANCER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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