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Sharp, Linda and Tilson, Lesley and Whyte, Sophie and Ceilleachair, Alan O and Walsh, Cathal and Usher, Cara and Tappenden, Paul and Chilcott, James and Staines, Anthony and Barry, Michael and Comber, Harry
BMC Health Services Research
Using resource modelling to inform decision making and service planning: the case of colorectal cancer screening in Ireland
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BACKGROUND: Organised colorectal cancer screening is likely to be cost-effective, but cost-effectiveness results alone may not help policy makers to make decisions about programme feasibility or service providers to plan programme delivery. For these purposes, estimates of the impact on the health services of actually introducing screening in the target population would be helpful. However, these types of analyses are rarely reported. As an illustration of such an approach, we estimated annual health service resource requirements and health outcomes over the first decade of a population-based colorectal cancer screening programme in Ireland. METHODS: A Markov state-transition model of colorectal neoplasia natural history was used. Three core screening scenarios were considered: (a) flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) once at age 60, (b) biennial guaiac-based faecal occult blood tests (gFOBT) at 55-74 years, and (c) biennial faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) at 55-74 years. Three alternative FIT roll-out scenarios were also investigated relating to age-restricted screening (55-64 years) and staggered age-based roll-out across the 55-74 age group. Parameter estimates were derived from literature review, existing screening programmes, and expert opinion. Results were expressed in relation to the 2008 population (4.4 million people, of whom 700,800 were aged 55-74). RESULTS: FIT-based screening would deliver the greatest health benefits, averting 164 colorectal cancer cases and 272 deaths in year 10 of the programme. Capacity would be required for 11,095-14,820 diagnostic and surveillance colonoscopies annually, compared to 381-1,053 with FSIG-based, and 967-1,300 with gFOBT-based, screening. With FIT
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