The Mammography Debate Resurfaces-This Time it's Medicare Spending

Despite increased spending, the breast cancer detection rate and stage did not change, according to a new JNCI study.

Medicare's mammography costs increased by almost 50% over a 7-year period while the breast cancer detection rate and stage at diagnosis did not change, a 270,000-patient study showed.

Annual Medicare spending rose from $666 million during 2001 to 2002, to $962 million in 2008 to 2009, according to Cary P. Gross, MD, of Yale University, and colleagues. The number of women screened and detection rates for early-stage disease were similar during the two time periods.

The rise in cost coincided with widespread transition from plain-film to more expensive digital mammography, they reported online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"I view this as important preliminary data suggesting there has been no improvement whatsoever [in detection rates]," Gross told MedPage Today. "As far as why there was no improvement, it's either because the new technology was not more effective or maybe we just need longer follow-up time, and only time will tell."

Read the original report here:

Source: medpageToday

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