Publication Abstract

Authors: Lang K, Lines LM, Lee DW, Korn JR, Earle CC, Menzin J

Title: Lifetime and treatment-phase costs associated with colorectal cancer: evidence from SEER-Medicare data.

Journal: Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 7(2):198-204

Date: 2009 Feb

Abstract: BACKGROUND & AIMS: This study provides detailed estimates of lifetime and phase-specific colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment costs. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study included patients aged 66 years and older, newly diagnosed with CRC in a Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry (1996-2002), matched 1:1 (by age, sex, and geographic region) to patients without cancer from a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries. The Kaplan-Meier sample average estimator was used to estimate observed 10-year costs, which then were extrapolated to 25 years. A secondary analysis computed costs on a per-survival-year basis to adjust for differences in mortality by stage and age. Costs were expressed in 2006 US$, with future costs discounted 3% per year. RESULTS: Our sample included 56,838 CRC patients (41,256 colon cancer [CC] patients and 15,582 rectal cancer [RC] patients; mean +/- SD age, 77.7 +/- 7.1 y; 55% women; and 86% white). Lifetime excess costs were $29,500 for CC and $26,500 for RC patients. Per survival year, stage IV CRC patients incurred $31,000 in excess costs compared with $3000 for stage 0 patients. CRC patients incurred excess costs of $33,500 in the initial phase, $4500/y in the continuing phase, and $14,500 in the terminal phase. RC patients had lower costs than CC patients in the initial phase, but higher costs in both the continuing and terminal phases. CONCLUSIONS: Excess costs associated with CRC are striking and vary considerably by treatment phase, cancer subsite, and stage at diagnosis. Interventions aimed at earlier diagnosis and prevention have the potential to reduce cancer-related health care costs.