Prostate cancer costs vary by treatment type

January 18, 2007

The cost burden of prostate cancer is high, but it varies by treatment type, even when controlling for disease, age, and stage, according to a study by Peter Carroll, MD, and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco.

The cost burden of prostate cancer is high, but it varies by treatment type, even when controlling for disease, age, and stage, according to a study by Peter Carroll, MD, and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco. Cumulative cost analysis allowed inclusion of adverse events and disease recurrence costs, making new cost comparisons evident among treatments, the researchers said.

The team compared health care utilization and cost patterns of prostate cancer treatments over a span of 5.5 years in 4,553 newly diagnosed patients stratified by age and risk group. Contemporary treatment and evaluation patterns for prostate cancer were identified by using the CaPSURE database. Costs of outpatient visits, medications, and hospitalizations were applied from various national sources.

The study, published in the online edition of Cancer, reported that prostate-related costs in the first 6 months after treatment were $11,495; from $2,586 for watchful waiting to $24,204 for external beam radiation. After 6 months, average cost was only $3,044. Annual cost is highest for androgen deprivation therapy ($12,590) and lowest for watchful waiting ($5,843). Risk and age were significantly related to initial treatment choice, the researchers found.