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Prostate cancer is costly for Californians, according to UCSF researchers

Prostate cancer, which largely afflicts older men, is costly for Californians, accounting for more than $180 million in direct health care costs in 1998 and an additional $180 million in lost productivity resulting from premature death. Costs are likely to increase as life expectancy increases, according to UCSF researchers.

"Because prostate cancer is costly and common, it is critical to identify cost-effective screening that will permit early detection," said Wendy Max, PhD, co-director of the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging and professor of health economics, in a study that appears in the June 1, 2002 issue of Cancer.

The researchers noted that California hospitalization costs account for almost three-fifths of the total direct costs, with Medicare and private health insurance sharing almost equally in paying for hospital care. The mean cost for a person hospitalized for prostate cancer was $6,939. In addition, prostate cancer adds an average of $3,388 in costs for a patient hospitalized for another reason, such as heart disease or respiratory illness.

Other costs included emergency department visits, outpatient visits, office-based provider visits, prescription medications, home health care, nursing home care, and losses of productivity for those who died prematurely.

This cancer in Californians follows national patterns, according to the investigators. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer incidence among California men, accounting for 30.4 percent of all cancer cases. A steep increase in annual incidence rates occurred between 1988-1992 with the introduction of screening for prostate specific antigen (PSA), which permitted diagnosis at earlier stages. Deaths due to prostate cancer ranked second to lung cancer and account for 12.2 percent of all cancer deaths in the California, they said.

"Although the number of deaths and new incident cases has declined recently, prostate cancer remains the most c
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Contact: Maureen McInaney
mmcinaney@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
29-May-2002


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