'Expert Centers' Give More Cost-Effective Cancer Care

Study finds these hospitals are more costly, but provide savings over long term

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MONDAY, March 12, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Expert centers with extensive experience in managing cancer are more costly, but they are also more cost-effective in managing ovarian cancer in the long-term, U.S. researchers report.

A team at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore looked at treatment efficacy, costs, and cost-effectiveness in hypothetical patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

They concluded that the overall cost of treating one patient was $50,652 at an expert center and $39,957 at a less experienced center.

Quality of life and survival as measured by quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) was much better at an expert center (5.12 QALYs vs. 2.33 QALYs), as was cost-effectiveness -- $9,893/QALY at an expert center and $17,149/QALY at a less experienced center.

The study authors concluded that using an expert center, "with a high proportion of patients undergoing optimal primary cytoreduction and receiving combined IP/IV chemotherapy, is cost-effective from the perspective of society compared to referral of patients to a less-experienced center."

The study is published in the April 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians explains cancer treatments.

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, March 12, 2007

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