Navigation Links
Cancer Care Costs Higher in U.S. Than Europe, But Survival Longer
Date:4/9/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The United States spends more on health care than any other country, but those high costs may be paying off in cancer survival, a new report suggests.

U.S. cancer patients often live almost two years longer than similar patients in Europe, arguing for the dollar value of care given, researchers say.

However, Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer and executive vice president at the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the study, said that "this paper has a huge fatal flaw in it."

"When you look at survival from time of diagnosis to time of death and you have a screened population that has a lot of diagnoses, you're filling that population with people who don't need treatment and because they are over-diagnosed, they have very long survival," he added.

These researchers attribute increased survival to the treatment, when it is really over-diagnosis, Brawley said. "So they are looking at a bunch of wasted, unnecessary treatment and then saying it was money well spent," he said.

"You don't look at survival rates -- this is a classic misuse of survival rates," Brawley said. "You have to look at death rates for each disease and not survival rates. The measurement should not be expense versus survival -- it should be expense versus mortality rate."

On that scale, the United States does well for some cancers and as well as they do in most of Europe for others, he said. "Mortality rates for breast and colon cancer are close to the mortality rates in Europe, but that may include the effect of over-treatment," Brawley said.

The report was published in the April issue of Health Affairs.

For the study, Tomas Philipson, the chair in public policy at the University of Chicago, and colleagues looked at cancer care in the United States and in 10 European countries from 1983 to 1999.

The investigators found that for most cancers, U.S. patients lived longer than Europeans. Americans lived an average of 11.1 years after diagnosis, compared with 9.3 years for Europeans, they said.

When the authors translated survival data to dollars, they found those extra years were worth $598 billion, which is an average of $61,000 per cancer patient.

The value of these survival gains was highest for prostate cancer ($627 billion) and breast cancer ($173 billion), the findings indicated.

To put a monetary value on survival, the researchers used a "statistical-life concept." In many such studies, they said, estimates are based on how much income a person would exchange for a lower risk of mortality.

"Our findings bear on the larger question of whether higher U.S. health care spending is worth it, suggesting -- although not confirming -- that it is," the researchers wrote.

"Further research is required to examine the drivers of spending and their effects on outcomes, including assessing the relative contributions of treatments, screening, the skill of health care personnel and other factors in improving patient outcomes," they concluded.

On the larger issue of the costs of cancer treatment, Brawley said that "we spend money in an irrational way. We harm people by over-treating them and over-treatment costs money."

Many patients are getting treatments that cause harm, but don't really prolong life, Brawley said. It's hard for a doctor to tell a patient there is nothing that can be done.

"That is the kind of thing doctors need to be developing skills in -- it's an emotional hurdle to say 'I can't stop this,'" he said.

Many patients think that giving up is admitting defeat, and want to be treated even if the treatment will do more harm than good, Brawley said.

"We all need to take a step back and take a look at reality and ask whether the patient stands a good chance of benefiting from a particular treatment. If there aren't benefits, then we ought to, perhaps, stop," he said.

"Instead of talking about rationing care, we need to talk about the rational use of care," Brawley added.

More information

For more about cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Otis Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer and executive vice president, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; April 2012, Health Affairs


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Enhancing arrest of cell growth to treat cancer in mice
2. Paxil Blocks Tamoxifen, Lowers Survival Odds Against Breast Cancer
3. The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Joins the Commission on Cancer
4. Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drugs effectiveness
5. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
6. Soft drinks may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
7. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
8. Genes Play Role in Prognosis With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers
9. Single gene mutation induces endometrial cancer
10. Certain genetic profiles associated with recurrence-free survival for non-small cell lung cancer
11. Molecular pathways linked to sex, age affect outcomes in lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cancer Care Costs Higher in U.S. Than Europe, But Survival Longer
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... While it’s often important to take certain medications during the night, ... has identified a solution. , She developed a prototype for MOTION LIGHT-UP PILL BOX ... eliminates the need to turn on a light when taking medication during the night, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , ... Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize ... providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which ... evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , ... and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, ... towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The ... social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which ... current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a leader ... and immune-engineering today announced the launch of EpiVax ... of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided ... access to enabling technologies to the new precision ... lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. Gad ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... 19, 2017   ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader ... that it has been ranked #1 by its users for ... Rankings 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked ... and medical centers over 200 beds and holds one of ... user survey history. ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... reviews on the independent review site Consumer Affairs have ... hearing aids, ranking it higher than Miracle Ear ™, Beltone™, ... ... Aids ... that provides high performance, state-of-the-art, German-engineered hearing aids directly to consumers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: