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J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2012 Apr;56(2):235-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-9485.2012.02354.x.

Cost analysis of lung cancer management in South Western Sydney.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, Wollongong, Australia.



Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Western nations, and associated health-care costs are escalating. The aim of this study was to describe the current pattern of resource use and direct medical costs associated in managing lung cancer in South Western Sydney, Australia.


All new cases of primary lung carcinoma discussed at the Liverpool and Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre (CTC) Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Team meeting or seen at CTC between 1 December 2005 and 21 December 2006 were reviewed. Staging investigations, hospitalisation, treatment and follow-up investigations were documented from first consultation to last follow-up (31 October 2008 or death). Cost estimates were based on the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule and reported in Australian dollars. Infrastructure, staff and non-medical costs were excluded.


There were 210 patients, median age 68.2 years (range 39-90) with median follow-up of 16.6 months. The pathology and stage distribution were: 3.8% limited stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC), 10.0% extensive stage SCLC, 13.4% stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 28.5% stage III NSCLC and 44.3% stage IV NSCLC. The estimated total cost for managing this patient cohort was A$2.91 million. The cost components were: staging investigations (10.1%), treatment 41.2% (2.8% surgery, 15.8% radiotherapy and 22.6% chemotherapy), hospitalisation (43.7%) and follow-up investigations (5%). The median costs for managing NSCLC and SCLC subgroups were A$10,675 (range A$669-612,789) and A$14,799 (range A$908-31,057), respectively.


Hospitalisation and cancer treatment, particularly chemotherapy, accounted for the major components of direct medical costs in the management of lung cancer.

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