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)... QUEENS, N.Y (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... recently became a member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special ... constantly changing laws and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought out many kids this ... by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at getting kids excited about ... ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all about having fun and ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and ... of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six ... years in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... CITY, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... cold therapy products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the ... multipurpose pad so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received ... Mobile  — a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for ... aims to transform technology into a clinical solution to support the ... costs. Innovative Design ... NDS ZeroWire Mobile Wireless Solution ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts ... , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... health insurance regulations. ... to get a flu shot is by the end of October, according ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- Halo Labs announces the European launch of their new low ... MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, U.K on October ... biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and sensitivity while using far less ... Imaging. ... analysis system ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: