A more effective approach to prostate cancer treatment

(Medical Xpress)—Active surveillance of men with low-risk prostate cancer may be better for quality of life and is cost-effective compared with immediate treatment, reports a study published today in CMAJ Open.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men and the third leading cause of death from cancer. The incidence of , and associated economic costs, has increased 50% over the last three decades, although most cases are low to intermediate risk. Many cancers, despite being low-risk of progressing, are treated and overtreatment can affect patient quality of life.

"Despite published guideline recommendations, overtreatment of prostate cancer is common in the US and elsewhere, with approximately 70% to 90% undergoing active treatments," writes lead author Dr. Alice Dragomir from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Urology at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. "In Canada, approximately 75% of patients with prostate cancer have received active treatment from 1995 through 2002. It is believed today that more than half of these patients did not require active treatment at the time of diagnosis but they incurred cost and morbidity."

Researchers developed a model to estimate cancer costs for – watching and waiting to see if cancer progresses – and immediate treatment of patients in Quebec, Canada. They found that active surveillance with follow up over 5 years could save approximately $96 million at the national level as the high-cost of treating cancer that was at low-risk of progressing could be avoided. With active surveillance, the cost per patient for the first year and the subsequent 5 years of follow up was estimated at $6 200 compared with $13, 735 for immediate treatment.

"Our study demonstrates that for eligible , active surveillance could offer not only the known clinical advantages from the patient's perspective, but also economic benefits from the health care system perspective," adds senior author Dr. Armen Aprikian, MUHC Chief of Oncology and head of the Division of Urology at McGill University

"The results of our study add to the economic rationale advocating active surveillance for eligible men with low-risk prostate cancer and highlights cost savings estimates specific to the Canadian public system," the authors conclude.

More information: Alice Dragomir, Fabio L. Cury, and Armen G. Aprikian. "Active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer compared with immediate treatment: a Canadian cost comparison." CMAJ Open 2:E60-E68; published online April 24, 2014, DOI: 10.9778/cmajo.20130037

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Active surveillance cost-effective for prostate cancer

Jul 13, 2012

(HealthDay) -- In a theoretical cohort of 120,000 men, selecting active surveillance for prostate cancer results in considerable cost savings at five and 10 years of follow-up, compared with immediate treatment, ...

Implications of very low risk prostate cancer assessed

Sep 20, 2013

(HealthDay)—The risk of adverse findings at surgery for men with very low risk (VLR) prostate cancer is significantly lower than for those with low risk (LR), according to research published in the October ...

Recommended for you

Pepper and halt: Spicy chemical may inhibit gut tumors

11 hours ago

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining ...

Expressive writing may help breast cancer survivors

13 hours ago

Writing down fears, emotions and the benefits of a cancer diagnosis may improve health outcomes for Asian-American breast cancer survivors, according to a study conducted by a researcher at the University of Houston (UH).

Taking the guesswork out of cancer therapy

19 hours ago

Researchers and doctors at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) have co-developed the first molecular test ...

Brain tumour cells found circulating in blood

19 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—German scientists have discovered rogue brain tumour cells in patient blood samples, challenging the idea that this type of cancer doesn't generally spread beyond the brain.

International charge on new radiation treatment for cancer

20 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Imagine a targeted radiation therapy for cancer that could pinpoint and blast away tumors more effectively than traditional methods, with fewer side effects and less damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

User comments