What does it cost Medicare to diagnose and treat men with localized prostate cancer in the first year?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia after skin cancer, accounting for nearly 22,000 new cases each year. This multi-institutional study funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia has attempted to quantify the costs associated with prostate cancer from the time of presentation to 12 months after diagnosis in terms of scheduled items from the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The study used existing data from the ProsCan for men study – a randomised controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of a psycho-education for men considering prostate cancer treatment. The analysis of the MBS and PBS data found that the average cost related to prostate cancer in the first 12 months was nearly $10,000. It also provided subgroup analysis of costs based on the initial treatment type. This study provides the first overview of the healthcare resources associated with the first year of management of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. It demonstrates the financial burden of this disease for the Australian MBS and highlights the need for better prognostic tools to help differentiate aggressive tumours to reduce the potential over treatment and help reduce the financial burden of prostate cancer. 

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