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HTA of High Risk Breast Cancer Surveillance

Status: Published on

Following a request from the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), the Authority undertook this Health Technology Assessment (HTA) to inform a decision regarding the surveillance of women aged less than 50 years at elevated risk of breast cancer in Ireland. The assessment was completed and submitted as advice to the NCCP and the Minister for Health for consideration.

The purpose of this HTA was to evaluate a standardised surveillance programme based on digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a combination of the two compared with current standard of care.

At the time of the HTA request, there was no organised surveillance for the management of women aged less than 50 years at elevated risk of breast cancer. While some women considered to be at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer due to a genetic predisposition or strong family history were offered surveillance, access was not standardised and there was considerable variation in the type of surveillance offered.

The HTA examined the potential benefits of a standardised surveillance programme, as well as the resources required to support such a programme. An economic evaluation and budget impact assessment were also carried out, comparing the cost-effectiveness and cost of a national surveillance programme with no surveillance or a continuation of the current practice of no organised surveillance. The wider implications of implementing such a programme were also examined.