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Resource Use and Cost of Diagnostic Workup of Women with Suspected Breast Cancer


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: David W. Lee, PhD, Senior Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, GE Healthcare, 3000 N. Grandview Blvd w-460, Waukesha, WI 53188, USA, or e-mail:


Abstract:  We estimated resource use and costs associated with a diagnostic workup for suspected breast cancer among Medicare beneficiaries. Using Medicare claims data, we found that the average cost of a diagnostic workup for suspected breast cancer—whether it eventuated in a breast cancer diagnosis or not—was $361, and did not vary by presentation (signs/symptoms or screening mammography). In the aggregate, we estimate that Medicare spends approximately $679 million annually on diagnostic workups for women with suspected breast cancer, and that false positive mammograms result in diagnostic costs of approximately $250 million.

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