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HERC has been involved in a number of studies in the area of screening for breast cancer, with several related publications.

Evaluation of Full Field Digital Mammography

Dates: 2002 - 2003
Funding: NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme
Information: Rosa Legood

Full Field Digital Mammography (FFDM) is an alternative technology to conventional mammography systems for use in breast cancer screening. With FFDM, the woman's breast is still X-rayed as it would be with conventional mammography. However, with FFDM the machine has a detector that converts X-rays into electric signals replacing the analogue film-screen cassette.

Two different FFDM systems were piloted alongside conventional mammography machines at two different breast-screening units.

The objective of this study was to estimate and compare the cost of FFDM with conventional mammography. Data from these pilot studies plus additional data on the cost of conventional mammography and FFDM systems form the basis of this study. Compared to conventional mammography machines, the capital equipment required to facilitate FFDM is relatively expensive.

However, potentially, these increased capital costs may be offset by costs savings derived from no longer needing to process and store films.

Computer Aided Detection (CAD) in breast screening

Dates: 2000-2001
Funding: NHS HTA programme
Collaborators: CHIME, Royal Free Hospital, University College London Medical School
Information: Rosa Legood

This project assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of computer aids in supporting different combinations of professional groups reading screening mammograms.


Legood R, Gray AM. A cost comparison of full field digital mammography (FFDM) with film-screen mammography in breast cancer screening, NHS Breast Screening Programme Equipment Report 0403 February 2004 (NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Sheffield)

Gerard K , Shanahan M, Louviere J. Using Stated Preference Discrete Choice Modelling to Inform Health Care Decision-making: A Pilot Study of Breast Screening Participation, Applied Economics 2003; 35:1-13

Johnston, Gerard K . Assessing Technical Efficiency in the UK Breast Screening Programme: Does Size of Screening Unit Make a Difference? Health Policy 2001; 56:21-32.

Johnston K . Modelling the Future Costs of Breast Screening, European Journal of Cancer 2001; 37: 1752-1758.