Cover: Cost Effectiveness of Mailed Outreach Programs for Colorectal Cancer Screening

Cost Effectiveness of Mailed Outreach Programs for Colorectal Cancer Screening

Analysis of a Pragmatic, Randomized Trial

Published in: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.01.054

Posted on Sep 15, 2022

by Kandice A. Kapinos, Ethan A. Halm, Caitlin C. Murphy, Noel O. Santini, Adam C. Loewen, Clare Sugg Skinner, Amit G. Singal

Background & Aims

Clinical guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening suggest use of either stool-based tests or colonoscopy—modalities that differ in recommended screening intervals, adherence, and costs. We know little about the long-term cost differences in population-health outreach strategies to promote these strategies.


We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare 2 mailed outreach strategies to increase CRC screening from a pragmatic, randomized clinical trial: mailed fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits vs invitations to complete a screening colonoscopy. We built a 10-year Markov chain Monte Carlo microsimulation model to account for differences in screening intervals, adherence, and costs.


Mailed FIT kits had a lower 10-year average per-person cost of screening relative to colonoscopy invitations ($1139 vs $1725) but with 10.89 fewer months of compliance and 60 fewer advanced neoplasia detected (37 advanced adenomas and 23 CRC). Incremental cost effectiveness ratios for colonoscopy invitations compared with mailed FIT kits were $55.23, $15.84, and $25.48 per additional covered month, advanced adenoma, and CRC, respectively. Although FIT was the preferred strategy at low willingness-to-pay thresholds, the 2 strategies were equal at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $41.31 per covered month gained.


Mailed FIT or colonoscopy invitations are both options to improve CRC screening completion and advanced neoplasia detection, and the choice of outreach strategy may differ by a health system's willingness-to-pay threshold. Mailed FIT kits are less expensive than colonoscopy invitations but result in fewer months of screening compliance and advanced neoplasia detected.

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