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Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Is Expensive to Treat

Overall annual costs are four times higher than in elderly patients with less-advanced disease

WEDNESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly patients, managing muscle-invasive bladder cancer is four times more costly than managing less-advanced bladder cancer, according to research published in the March issue of Urology.

Catherine D. Cooksley, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues collected the records of Medicare reimbursements in 4,863 patients aged 65 and older who were diagnosed between 1994 and 1996. They inflated all costs to 2006 U.S. dollars.

The researchers found that patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer accounted for significantly higher annual median costs than those with less-advanced bladder cancer ($35.72 million versus $21.03 million). They also found that comorbidity-adjusted incremental annual resource costs per patient were four times higher in those with muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

"Cost-containment strategies should include reducing complications and using measures that identify bladder cancer and its recurrence before the disease has advanced," the authors conclude. "Identifying bladder cancer before it is muscle-invasive, compliance with focused follow-up schedules, and using adjuvant intravesical therapy as appropriate should be encouraged."

This study was supported, in part, by a grant from Pharmacia, Incorporated (formerly Searle).

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