Cost-effective priorities for cancer prevention

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Science  01 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4605, pp. 17-23
DOI: 10.1126/science.6407110


Faced with limited resources, the United States must set priorities for research to identify preventable causes of cancer. A quantitative approach to priority setting, based on principles of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, can offer guidance in this process. An illustrative application of such a model suggests that the National Institutes of Health-supported clinical trial of dietary beta-carotene offers a greater expected reduction in cancer mortality per research dollar than carcinogen bioassays of high-volume industrial chemicals such as p-dichlorobenzene. National research priorities should reflect the relative cost-effectiveness of such investments.