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Prostate Treatment Costs Substantial and Sustained

Study finds average 5-year tab for management is $42,570

THURSDAY, Dec. 21, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The average five-year cumulative cost of prostate cancer management in the United States is $42,570, a new study says.

Publishing in the Feb. 1, 2007, issue of the journal Cancer, University of California, San Francisco, researchers tracked the treatment costs of 4,553 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients. In the first six months after diagnosis, the mean cost of treatment was $11,495. Individual costs ranged from $2,568 for watchful waiting to $24,204 for external beam radiation.

Treatment choices were influenced by patients' age and disease risk. Older, high-risk patients often required more expensive treatments, such as external beam radiation and androgen deprivation therapy. Younger, lower risk patients often required the less costly prostatectomy, the study said.

After the initial six-month period, subsequent annual costs averaged $7,740 per patient, ranging from $5,843 for those who had watchful waiting to $12,590 for patients who had androgen deprivation therapy.

The overall average per patient cost over 5.5 years was $42,570, ranging from $32,135 for patients with watchful waiting to $69,244 for patients with androgen deprivation therapy.

The findings "demonstrate that prostate-related costs per person are substantial and sustained over time, and that the short-term treatment cost comparisons most commonly found in the literature are not truly reflective of the cost of treatment over the long-term," the study authors concluded.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about prostate cancer treatments.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, Dec. 21, 2006
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