How much does treating low-risk PCa really cost?
Using time-driven activity-based costing, researchers say they’ve uncovered a wide variation in costs to treat low-risk prostate cancer.
“This is the first study to truly investigate the costs of various treatments for prostate cancer over the long-term. As we move from traditional fee-for-service reimbursement models to accountable care organizations and bundled payments to curb growing health care expenditures, understanding the true costs of health care is essential,” said first author Aaron Laviana, MD, of UCLA, in a press release from that institution.
The study, which was published online in Cancer (Nov. 2, 2015), was met with praise from one expert, who said the findings will be of interest not only to practicing urologists but also patients and payers.
The authors described cost across the low-risk prostate cancer care process by developing process maps for each phase of care from the first urologic visit through 12 years of follow-up for robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, cryotherapy, high-dose rate and low-dose rate brachytherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy, and active surveillance. They factored in costs of materials, equipment, personnel, and space.
According to the study’s findings, the authors found substantial cost differences at 5 years, with costs ranging from $7,298 for active surveillance to $23,565 for intensity-modulated radiation therapy.
They found low-dose rate brachytherapy, at $8,978, was notably less expensive than high-dose rate brachytherapy, at $11,448.