|April 09, 2012||
American Cancer Patients Live Longer Than Those in Europe; Higher-Priced Cancer Treatments in US Offer Better Survival
Cluster of Articles in April Issue of Health Affairs Examines the Costs and Benefits of U.S. Cancer Care and the Value of Longer Survival to Cancer Patients
Bethesda, MD -- The United States spends more on cancer care than European countries, but a new study published in Health Affairs suggests that investment also generates a greater "value" for US patients, who typically live nearly two years longer than their European counterparts.
Tomas Philipson, the Daniel Levin Chair in Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and his coauthors found that the cost of cancer treatment in the United States was higher than such care in ten European countries from 1983 to 1999. However, they also found that for most cancer types investigated, US cancer patients lived longer than their European counterparts. Cancer patients diagnosed during 1995-99, on average, lived 11.1 years after diagnosis in the United States, compared to just 9.3 years from diagnosis in Europe.
The researchers concluded that by standard metrics that value additional years of life in dollar terms, US cancer patients paid more but achieved better results in terms of longevity. Even after considering higher US costs for treatment, their calculations showed the extra longevity was worth an aggregate of $598 billion--an average of $61,000 for an individual cancer patient. The value of additional survival gains was highest for prostate cancer patients ($627 billion) and breast cancer patients ($173 billion).
This analysis suggests that the higher-cost US system of cancer care delivery may be worth it in terms of the longer survival it delivered, say the authors, although further research is required to determine what specific tools or treatments are driving improved cancer survival in the United States.
The study is one of several in the April issue of Health Affairs that look at cancer spending and assess the value of treatments that can cost thousands of dollars yet might offer patients with a terminal illness the hope of staying alive longer. Taken together, the articles might help policy makers, patients, providers. and others decide when a high-cost treatment is "worth" the expense in terms of delivering better health to patients.
Other papers in this issue of Health Affairs examine other aspects of the value of cancer treatments, as follows:
The cluster of articles in the April issue of Health Affairs is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California, and the consulting firm Precision Health Economics.
A full table of contents from the entire April 2012 issue is available here: http://www.healthaffairs.org/Media/toc/2012_04_toc.pdf
|About Health Affairs|
Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at www.healthaffairs.org. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.