Patient Navigation Services to Increase Breast Cancer Screenings are Cost-effective
The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) finds patient navigation services to increase breast cancer screening are cost-effective. Systematic review evidence shows estimates of cost per quality adjusted life year gained are below a conservative threshold of $50,000. CPSTF recommends patient navigation services to increase breast cancer screening among historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic populations and people with lower incomes.
Patient navigation services are expected to advance health equity when implemented among these populations who often have lower screening rates.1 With timely and appropriate follow-up care and treatment, patient navigation services may improve health for these groups.
CPSTF also recommends patient navigation services to increase cervical cancer screening and advance health equity. More research is needed, however, to determine the cost-effectiveness of these intervention approaches to increase cervical cancer screenings.
The recommendations for patient navigation services complement CPSTF’s recommendations for interventions engaging community health workers and multicomponent interventions to increase breast and cervical cancer screenings.
What are Patient Navigation Services for Cancer Screening?
Healthcare systems provide patient navigation services to help patients overcome barriers to accessing cancer screening. Services are often offered to populations experiencing greater disparities in cancer screening, including people from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic populations and people with lower incomes. They include client reminders, reduced structural barriers or improved assistance getting around them, reduced out-of-pocket costs, or a combination of these approaches. Services may also provide one-on-one or group education.
Patient navigation services are delivered by community health workers, patient navigators, healthcare professionals, nurses, social workers, or others. They are often designed to be culturally- and language-appropriate.
Why is this important?
Breast cancer has the highest treatment cost of any cancer, accounting for 14% of all cancer treatment costs.2 It is estimated the United States spent $29.8 billion for breast cancer care in 2020.2 Compared with the general population, cancer screening rates are lower among people from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups and people with lower incomes.1 Identifying and expanding the use of evidence-based interventions to increase screening could help reduce some of these screening disparities.
For More Information
- The Community Guide
- Cancer Screening
- Cancer Screening: Patient Navigation Services to Increase Breast Cancer Screening and Advance Health Equity
- Cancer Screening: Patient Navigation Services to Increase Cervical Cancer Screening and Advance Health Equity
- Cancer Screening: Patient Navigation Services to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening and Advance Health Equity
- CDC, Cancer Prevention and Control
- National Cancer Institute, Evidence-based Cancer Control Programs
- National Navigation Roundtable
1 Sabatino SA, Thompson TD, White MC et al. Cancer screening test receipt – United States, 2018. MMWR 2021;70(2):29-35.
2 National Cancer Institute. Financial burden of cancer care. Cancer Trends Progress Report. Updated April 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022. https://progressreport.cancer.gov/after/economic_burden
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- Cancer Screening