The financial burden related to prostate cancer management over five years is substantial and sustained, according to a new study. Published in the February 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that the cumulative cost of prostate cancer is, on average, $42,570 over five years. Watchful waiting was the least expensive treatment while radiation and androgen deprivation therapy were the most expensive. The longitudinal study was the first to look at all related healthcare costs associated with all prostate cancer treatments cumulatively over time and for all ages and disease risks. The cost patterns also indicate that these therapies were appropriately utilized according to current guidelines for disease risk and age. Therefore some therapies are actually costly because they are being appropriately used for higher risk or older patients.
More than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the United States, but the treatment options are controversial. For each treatment, questions about efficacy and concerns about life-altering adverse effects raise concerns about cost versus benefit. While studies often report immediate treatment costs, most ignore the impact of side effects and longer term considerations, such as relapse. Although age and individual risk play a role in treatment decisions, these are often not controlled for in cost studies. In addition, no studies compare the costs of all treatments.
Leslie S. Wilson, Ph.D., Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco and co-investigators examined patterns of healthcare use over time and compared the interval costs of all prostate-related treatments over five and a half years of 4,553 newly diagnosed men stratified by age, risk, and ethnicity. For the first time, a study identified and included prostate cancer treatment failure and advers
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