TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The costs of cancer treatments increased from 2009 to 2016, with a corresponding increase in out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for privately insured nonelderly adult cancer patients, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Ya-Chen Tina Shih, Ph.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues used claims data from the Health Care Cost Institute to construct incident cohorts of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer patients (105,255; 23,571; 11,321; and 59,197 patients, respectively) diagnosed from 2009 to 2016. Cancer-related surgery, intravenous (IV) systemic therapy, and radiation were identified, and the associated total and OOP costs were calculated.

The researchers found that the total mean costs per patient increased significantly by 29, 11, and 4 percent for breast, lung, and prostate cancer, respectively, from 2009 to 2016 ($109,544 to $140,732; $151,751 to $168,730, and $53,300 to $55,497, respectively). There was a 1 percent increase seen for colorectal cancer, which was not statistically significant ($136,652 to $137,663). For all cancers, including colorectal cancer, OOP costs increased more than 15 percent, to more than $6,000 by 2016. Except for lung cancer, use of IV systemic therapy and radiation increased significantly. Cancer surgeries for breast and colorectal cancer increased significantly, while a decrease was seen for prostate cancer. For nearly all treatment modalities, total costs increased significantly.

“This trend of rising OOP costs among patients with private insurance is concerning because high-deductible plans are becoming more common in the private insurance market,” Shih said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

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