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Cost of treating prostate cancer falls to below cost of a new Toyota!

Posted Sep 28 2008 5:40pm

According to data published yesterday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, after adjustment for inflation, the average cost for treatment of a newly-diagnosed patient with prostate cancer actually fell by $196 (1.0 percent) between 1991 and 2002, to an average of $18,261 (because fewer men got surgery). By comparison the costs of treating newly diagnosed patients with lung cancer, breast cancer and colo-rectal cancer all rose (by 21.8, 25.0, and 14.9 percent respectively) over the same timeframe.

That’s really pretty remarkable when one considers that this was a period when there was a massive increase in the use of LHRH agonists in prostate cancer treatment, and many men were still being diagnosed with more advanced forms of disease, thus stimulating the widespread use of such treatment.

During the same timeframe, the US retail price of a new Toyota Camry LE went from $15,278 (in 1991) to $18,970 (in 2002), a 24.2 percent increase (without any adjustment for inflation).

Maybe none of this is interesting, but it seemed surprising to me that the cost of treating prostate cancer would fall at a time when the cost of treating other forms of cancer was rising roughly in line with the increase in the price of a fairly standard new car!

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