“Breast Screening Costs High for Seniors.” By Nancy Walsh, MedPage today

Costs associated with screening for breast cancer among older women remain high, with considerable geographic variation as well as some potentially undesirable implications for diagnosis, a retrospective study found. The annual cost to Medicare for breast cancer screening among women 66 and older was $1.08 billion in 2006, while for women 75 and older the cost was more than $410 million. The median cost per person was $64, but in areas of the country with the highest screening expenditures the median cost doubled, to $129, Gross and colleagues reported online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The total costs to Medicare for breast cancer screening and related procedures have been uncertain, which is an important knowledge gap in light of recent recommendations suggesting that the evidence is not sufficient as to whether screening of women 75 and older translates into any actual benefit on survival or cost.

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