Costs not in the news…boring Part 1

The Prostrate Cancer Foundation reports costs of treatments often are not reported accurately.

Wilson and colleagues compared patterns of healthcare utilization and direct costs of prostate cancer-related treatments over a 5.5-year period in 4553 newly diagnosed patients, stratified by age, risk group, and ethnic group

In the first 6 months after diagnosis, direct prostate-related costs per patient were high ($11,495) and highly variable ($2586 for watchful waiting to $24,204 for external-beam radiation therapy), the researchers report.

After the first 6 months, prostate-related costs were only $3044, ranging from $2418 for radical prostatectomy to $6019 for androgen deprivation therapy.

Cumulative costs for the entire period were highest for androgen deprivation therapy ($69,244) and external-beam radiation therapy ($59,455) and lowest for watchful waiting ($32,135) and brachytherapy ($35,143), the researchers note.

The most costly treatments were generally reserved for the highest risk groups, the report indicates, whereas the least costly treatments were primarily used by the lowest risk groups.

“Our data demonstrate that prostate-related costs per person are substantial and sustained over time, and that short-term treatment cost comparisons most commonly found in the literature do not truly reflect the cost of treatment choices over the long term,” the investigators conclude.

“It appears that current treatment is following clinical treatment guidelines from our data,” Dr. Wilson added. “Our paper also reminds us that it is important to examine the downstream costs (which indicate more care needs) of each of the different treatments.”

Compare that to Rudy’s complaints and soundbite. Which would you read?