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Research shows rapid adoption of newer, more expensive prostate cancer treatments
Date:3/14/2011

Boston, MA With 180,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, it is one of the most common types of cancer in the country. For this reason, it has been cited as a good marker for health care spending in general, reflective of the greater trends across the United States. New research from the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) shows that newer, more expensive treatment options for prostate cancer were adopted rapidly and widely during 2002 2005 without proof of their cost-effectiveness, and may offer explanations for why health care spending accounts for 17 percent of the nation's GDP. This research is published online March 14 and will appear in an upcoming print edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"In an era of limited resources, it is important for us as a society to take stock of how we're spending our money", said Paul Nguyen, MD, lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. "We don't think these patterns are unique to prostate cancer, but used it as an example and found that in the United States, newer and more expensive technologies were rapidly adopted before we knew if they were worth the added cost, or in the case of robotic surgery, whether they provide benefits over standard treatment."

Researchers evaluated the use and cost of surgical and radiation treatments for prostate cancer using Medicare linked data from more than 45,000 men who were 65 years or older between 2002 and 2005. The data accounted for patients who received two types of surgical treatments: the older treatment, open radical prostatectomy and the newer treatment, robot-assisted or laparoscopic prostatectomy; and two types of radiation treatments: the older type, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) and the newer option, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

Researchers report that among surgical patients, the number
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Contact: Lori J. Shanks
ljshanks@partners.org
617-534-1604
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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