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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995 Mar 15;87(6):417-26.

Stage, age, comorbidity, and direct costs of colon, prostate, and breast cancer care.

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  • 1Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Wash. 98101-1448.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of stage at diagnosis, age, and level of comorbidity (presence of other illness) on the costs of treating three types of cancer among members of a health maintenance organization.

METHODS:

Among 388,000 members enrolled anytime during 1990 and 1991 in Group Health Cooperative (GHC) of Puget Sound (Washington State), we estimated the total and net direct costs of medical care for colon, prostate, and breast cancers, including both incident (290, 554, and 645 patients, respectively) and prevalent (1046, 1295, and 2299 patients, respectively) cases. We summarized costs for initial, continuing, and terminal phases of care. Net costs were the difference between the costs of the care of each case subject and the average costs of the care for all enrollees without the cancer of interest who were of the same sex and in the same 5-year age group. Differences in estimated total and net costs by stage at diagnosis, age, and comorbidity were separately evaluated using multivariate regression modeling. All P values were two-sided. Comorbidity was based on a score calculated from 1988 pharmacy data.

RESULTS:

Total costs of initial care increased with stage at diagnosis for colon (P = .0013) and breast (P < .0001) cancer cases, but not for prostate cancer cases. Total initial costs decreased with age for prostate (P = .0225) and breast (P = .0002) cancers but did not change with degree of comorbidity for any of the three cancers. Total continuing medical care costs increased with stage at diagnosis for colon (P < .0001) and breast (P < .0001) cancer cases but not for prostate cancer cases. Total terminal care costs were similar by stage for all three cancers. Net initial costs differed with stage for all three cancers (P < .05). Net continuing care costs increased with stage (P < .0001) and decreased with age (P < .001) for colon and breast cancers but not for prostate cancer. Net continuing care costs decreased with comorbidity for all three cancers (P = .004, P = .011, and P < .0001 for colon, prostate, and breast cancers, respectively). Among regional stage cancers, continuing care costs decreased with age for colon (P < .0017) and breast (P = .033) cancers but not for prostate cancers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results show that total costs vary by stage at diagnosis and age, but the patterns of variation differ for each cancer. Costs of cancer are not simply additive to costs of other conditions.

IMPLICATIONS:

More needs to be done to explore the reasons and implications of age-related cost differences. Cost-effectiveness analyses of cancer control interventions that shift cancer stage distributions may need to consider both the age and comorbidity of the target populations.

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PMID:
7861461
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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