Putting a dollar value on cancer survival

Putting a dollar value on cancer survival
money and medicine

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

New research led by the University of the Sunshine Coast has estimated for the first time the health care costs of Queenslanders who survived cancer in the 20 years to 2016.

A team led by Dr. Katharina Merollini studied the long-term health care costs of more than 230,000 people between 2013 and 2016 who had been diagnosed with a first primary malignancy after 1997.

“We found that the average health care cost per person each year was $15,890,” said Dr. Merollini, a health economics scholar at UniSC and the Sunshine Coast Health Institute.

“Breaking this down by types of malignancies, the highest annual health service costs per person were for myeloma, a disease of the bone marrow ($46,000), brain cancer ($30,300) and Liver cancer ($29,600).

“These figures counted all the doctors and allies Health serviceshospitalizations, emergency admissions and prescription drugs in that period, both cancer-related and non-cancer-related.

The paper, “Long-term health care costs for cancer survivors in Queensland, Australia,” is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It is co-authored by Associate Professor Louisa Gordon of QIMR Berghofer Institute of Medical Research, University of Queensland and QUT, Dr Yiu Ho of Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service and UQ, Professor Joanne Aitken of Cancer Council Queensland and Professor Michael Kimlin. of QUT.

Professor Aitken of Cancer Council Queensland said: “Given the enormous cost of cancer to the health system and knowing that a third of cancers are preventable, a strong and clear message from this research is the importance of greater investment in Cancer prevention”.

Dr. Merollini said the cumulative average annual healthcare expenditure of all cancer survivors in Queensland between 2013 and 2016 was $3.66 billion.

“According to the data, patients with a history of prostate ($538 million), breast ($496 million) or colorectal ($476 million) cancer incurred the highest costs. These costs were generally highest in the first year after diagnosis and decreased over time.”

It said it was the first population-level investigation of the health service costs of Queensland cancer survivors beyond the initial years of treatment and including all age groups and health conditions. “It reveals a great impact on health services,” said Dr. Merollini.

“We hope that the results will serve as a basis for planning political decision makers in Australia, provide data for economic evaluations and reinforce the benefits of investing in cancer prevention.”

Fast facts on cancer survival:

  • Worldwide, there are 19.3 million new cancer cases per year, and this is expected to rise to 28.4 million cases in 2040;
  • The different stages are described as acute (from diagnosis to treatment), chronic (ongoing), long-term/late survival (more than five years after diagnosis), and cured (no disease);
  • In Australia in 2021, there were approximately 151,000 new cancer diagnoses and 1.1 million people living with a history of cancer;
  • The five-year relative survival for all cancers combined is 70%;
  • Cancer treatment often has problems related to long-term health and financial costs for patients and their families, from the physical (such as fatigue and cognitive problems) to the psychosocial (such as anxiety and depression), who require ongoing medical care;
  • The indirect burden of cancer encompasses lost productivity, caregiver time, and reduced income, as well as intangible costs such as disruption to families and lifestyles.

Fast facts on research data:

  • All Queensland residents diagnosed with a primary malignancy (excluding basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) between January 1997 and December 2015 were eligible for the study;
  • It did not include costs incurred for private health care provided without Medicare participation or funded by Medicare. private health insurance;
  • Only 14% were under 45 years old. About 52% were men;
  • The most common types of cancer recorded were prostate cancer (17.6%), melanoma (17.5%), breast (16.2%), and colorectal cancer (11.5%). Median age ls diagnosed with melanoma ($9,500) and thyroid cancer ($8,800).
More information:
Katharina MD Merollini et al, Long-term health care costs of cancer survivors in Queensland, Australia: results of a population-level data linkage study (Cos-Q), International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2022). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19159473

Provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast

Citation: Putting a Dollar Value on Cancer Survival (2022, Nov 7) Retrieved Nov 7, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-dollar-cancer-survival.html

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