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Cost of Treating Prostate Cancer High and Long-Lasting

Elderly, high-risk patients most expensive to treat

THURSDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of treating prostate cancer is substantial and long-lasting with an average annual cost of $7,740, and the elderly and those at high risk are the most expensive to treat, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in Cancer.

Leslie S. Wilson, Ph.D., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues used various databases to examine patterns of health care use and cost of prostate cancer treatment over 5.5 years in 4,553 newly diagnosed patients.

The researchers found that the average cost was $11,495 in the first six months after treatment, ranging from $2,586 for watchful waiting to $24,204 for external beam radiation. The average annual cost was $7,740, ranging from $5,843 for watchful waiting to $12,590 for androgen deprivation therapy. The choice of initial treatment was highly dependent on a patient's disease risk and age, the authors note. The cumulative average cost was $42,570.

"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," Wilson and colleagues conclude. "We demonstrate that those at high risk and the elderly are expensive to treat, which reflects appropriateness of care according to clinical treatment guidelines."

The study was supported by an unrestricted grant from TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.

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