September 26, 2011
Cancer Costs Is Spiraling Out Of Control
Researchers say that the cost of treating cancer is spiraling out of control and becoming unaffordable in many developed countries.
The international team of researchers say there is a "culture of excess" with insufficient evidence about the "value" of new treatments and technologies.
"The cancer community needs to take responsibility and not accept a sub-standard evidence base and an ethos of very small benefit at whatever cost," said a report commissioned by the Lancet Oncology medical journal on the costs of cancer care.
According to Economists Intelligence United data, the cost of cancer is estimated to be about $285 billion a year.
The report said policy-makers, doctors, patients groups and the health industry should all work together to try and find a way to reduce the cost from rising.
The report by 37 leading experts say the most developed countries dedicate between 4 percent and 7 percent of their healthcare budgets to dealing with cancer.
"The issue that concerns economists and policymakers is not just the amount of money spent on healthcare, but also the rate of increase in healthcare spending or what has become known as the cost curve," the report said.
The report said Dendreon's Provenge prostate cancer treatment can cost over $100,000 for a three-dose course and was found in trials to improve survival by several months in some patients.
Michael Baumann, president of the European Cancer Organization, said even though there is new cancer treatments and care, it is "absolutely necessary to think about this cost issue now."
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