Prostate cancer care for older men estimated to cost Medicare $1.2 billion
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CHAPEL HILL – Researchers from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center estimate that screening for and treating prostate cancer in men aged 70 years or older, which is not recommended by national guidelines, cost Medicare more than $1.2 billion over a three year period for each group of men diagnosed in the United States each year.

Published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study examined the costs associated with screening for prostate cancer, including treatment, for three years after diagnosis. They estimated that for men diagnosed in each of 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, the total cost for treating and screening for each group would be $1.2 billion for three years after diagnosis. The study also showed that of the total, $451 million was spent on men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer that is graded with a Gleason score of 6, which is considered to be low-grade disease and best managed using active surveillance rather than aggressive treatment.

“The tough discussions that happen in health economics are often cases where care is beneficial, but costly. That’s a hard trade-off, but this one is actually easier than that,” said UNC Lineberger’s Justin Trogdon, PhD, associate professor

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