The most effective screening method, colonoscopy, is at least twice as expensive as flexible sigmoidoscopy, even if performed every ten years, according to a report in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Heath Care.
Five-yearly flexible sigmoidoscopy costs US$12 636 - at 1994 prices - for every year it saves of a patient's life, according to the analysis.
Flexi-sigi is cheapeast screening test
The next most cost-effective technique is an annual blood stool test, which costs US$14 394 per year of life saved, the researchers said.
Researcher Dr Rezaul Khandker, of Outcomes Research, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA, said the cost of colon cancer screening compared well with the cost of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening. Mammography for women aged 50-69 years costs US$21 400 dollars per year saved, while the Pap smear cost US$16 259 dollars for women aged 20 to 65 years.
The analysts ranked the cost-effectiveness of different methods of screening for colon cancer. They found that the next most expensive technique was three-yearly sigmoidoscopy, followed by a double contrast barium enema performed every five years, and colonoscopy every decade.
Combined tests, such as annual blood stool testing with a five-yearly sigmoidoscopy, were less cost effective.
Further reading: Inadomi JM, Sonnenberg A. The impact of colorectal cancer screening on life expectancy. Gastrointest Endosc 2000 May; 51 (5): 517-23
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com