Cost-effective interventions for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer: new results from WHO-CHOICE

Ambinintsoa H. Ralaidovy, Chaitra Gopalappa, André Ilbawi, Carel Pretorius, Jeremy A. Lauer

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Background: Following the adoption of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020, an update to the Appendix 3 of the action plan was requested by Member States in 2016, endorsed by the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017 and provides a list of recommended NCD interventions. The main contribution of this paper is to present results of analyses identifying how decision makers can achieve maximum health gain using the cancer interventions listed in the Appendix 3. We also present methods used to calculate new WHO-CHOICE cost-effectiveness results for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer in Southeast Asia and eastern sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: We used "Generalized Cost-Effectiveness Analysis" for our analysis which uses a hypothetical null reference case, where the impacts of all current interventions are removed, in order to identify the optimal package of interventions. All health system costs, regardless of payer, were included. Health outcomes are reported as the gain in healthy life years due to a specific intervention scenario and were estimated using a deterministic state-transition cohort simulation (Markov model). Results: Vaccination against human papillomavirus (two doses) for 9-13-year-old girls (in eastern sub-Saharan Africa) and HPV vaccination combined with prevention of cervical cancer by screening of women aged 30-49 years through visual inspection with acetic acid linked with timely treatment of pre-cancerous lesions (in Southeast Asia) were found to be the most cost effective interventions. For breast cancer, in both regions the treatment of breast cancer, stages I and II, with surgery ± systemic therapy, at 95% coverage, was found to be the most cost-effective intervention. For colorectal cancer, treatment of colorectal cancer, stages I and II, with surgery ± chemotherapy and radiotherapy, at 95% coverage, was found to be the most cost-effective intervention. Conclusion: The results demonstrate that cancer prevention and control interventions are cost-effective and can be implemented through a step-wise approach to achieve maximum health benefits. As the global community moves toward universal health coverage, this analysis can support decision makers in identifying a core package of cancer services, ensuring treatment and palliative care for all.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2018


  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • expansion path
  • impact modelling
  • intervention costing
  • priority setting
  • resource allocation
  • universal health coverage

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