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Breast Cancer Screening in Women Younger Than 50 Years of Age: What's Next?

David M. Eddy, MD, PhD
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Requests for Reprints: David M. Eddy, MD, PhD, 2435 California Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(11):1035-1036. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-11-199712010-00017
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In this issue, a well-constructed cost-effectiveness analysis of screening mammography in women younger than 50 years of age [1] shows that screening in this age group is expensive, costing approximately $150 000 for a year of life saved. Those who do not like this result will no doubt challenge some details of the analysis, but they will not be able to shake its basic conclusion, which is determined by the low incidence of the disease, the relatively small beneficial effect of screening, and the long delay before any benefit appears. Unless the cost of mammography decreases dramatically, screening in younger women will always be expensive compared with the benefit it provides.

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