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Phase-specific health care costs of cervical cancer: estimates from a population-based study

Liu N, Mittmann N, Coyte PC, Hancock-Howard R, Seung SJ, Earle CC. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016; 214(5):615.e1-11. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

Background — There is a lack of evidence on the economic burden of managing cervical cancer in the public payer Canadian setting.

Objective — We used individual patient level data to obtain a comprehensive estimate of the cost of managing cervical cancer in the province of Ontario, identifying main cost drivers and predictors of increased costs.

Methods — The cost-of-illness technique was employed to estimate the incremental costs associated with cervical cancer in four phases: pre-diagnosis, initial care, continuing care, and terminal care. All cervical cancer patients diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 in the province of Ontario were propensity-score matched to 5 non-cancer controls on birth year, income quintile, rurality, comorbidities, and patterns of health care utilization pattern during the 2 years before cancer diagnosis. Both cases and the non-cancer comparison group were followed to death or March 31 2013. Costs for all health care services paid for by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (MOHLTC) during the follow-up period were estimated using linked administrative data. Incremental costs for managing cervical cancer were calculated through generalized estimating equations (GEEs). Predictors of higher health costs were explored using multivariate quantile regression models.

Results — All costs were presented in 2012 Canadian dollars ($1.00CDN = $1.00USD). The total incremental costs for managing cervical cancer were $362 in the pre-diagnosis phase, $15,722 in the initial phase, $3,924 per year in the continuing phase and $52,539 in the terminal phase. Inpatient care accounted for 34%, 28% and 52% of total health care cost in the initial, continuing and terminal phase, respectively. Physician services ranked first in the continuing phase (30%) and second in the initial (26%) and terminal (13%) phases. Advanced age, advanced cancer stage at diagnosis, and comorbidities were significant predictors of higher costs in most care phases.

Conclusion — Aggregate costs of care for cervical cancer are substantial and vary by cancer stage, phase of care, patient age at diagnosis, and comorbidities before diagnosis. These estimates can serve as baseline data in economic analyses aiming to evaluate interventions for managing cervical cancer.

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Keywords: Cancer Health care costs