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Study: Breast Cancer Treatment Costs Have Wide Variation

Image: Study: Breast Cancer Treatment Costs Have Wide Variation

A new study shows treatment costs for breast cancer vary widely. (Tagore75/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 10 Oct 2016 05:46 PM

A new breast cancer treatment costs study has determined the same or similar cancer treatments and treatment regimens can vary widely in cost to the patient due to differing insurance plans and treatment choices.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, showed up to $1 billion could be saved in the U.S. each year if treatment regimens with lower cost but equal effectiveness are chosen by doctors for their patients, the International Business Times reported.

The research looked at 14,643 insurance claims from women with private insurance from 2008 to 2012 who had chemotherapy within three months of a breast cancer diagnosis. The median out-of-pocket costs for study participants not receiving trastuzumab, a cancer treatment drug, was $2,727, but a significant number of study participants, about 10 percent, paid more than $7,041. Costs for those receiving trastuzumab were much higher, with 10 percent paying more than $89,384.

Study author Dr. Sharon Giordano and her colleagues at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas decided to study breast cancer treatment costs after Giordano encountered a patient who declined a five-year follow-up test because she was still paying for her treatment from five years ago, according to NBC News.

While insurance plans vary in their deductibles and contracts with various treatment providers, researchers were concerned patients paying high out-of-pocket costs might delay or avoid treatment, which could lead to more averse outcomes.

The study did not look at women without any insurance, who could end up paying $200,000 with no recourse for lower contracted rates or help in paying the huge costs of cancer treatment.

Some women also may go on Medicaid if they qualify, with the government covering the cost for all or part of their breast cancer treatment.

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A new breast cancer treatment costs study has determined the same or similar cancer treatments and treatment regimens can vary widely in cost to the patient due to differing insurance plans and treatment choices.
breast cancer, treatment, costs, study
291
2016-46-10
Monday, 10 Oct 2016 05:46 PM
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