BACKGROUND: The rising financial burden of cancer on health-care systems worldwide has led to the increased demand for evidence-based research on which to base reimbursement decisions. Economic evaluations are an integral component of this necessary research. Ascertainment of reliable health-care cost and quality-of-life estimates to inform such studies has historically been challenging, but recent advances in informatics in the United Kingdom provide new opportunities.
METHODS: The costs of hospital care for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer disease-free survivors were calculated over 15 months from initial diagnosis of cancer using routinely collected data within a UK National Health Service (NHS) Hospital Trust. Costs were linked at patient level to patient-reported outcomes and registry-derived sociodemographic factors. Predictors of cost and the relationship between costs and patient-reported utility were examined.
RESULTS: The study population included 223 breast cancer patients, 145 colorectal and 104 prostate cancer patients. The mean 15-month cumulative health-care costs were £12 595 (95% CI £11 517-£13 722), £12 643 (£11 282-£14 102) and £3722 (£3263-£4208), per-patient respectively. The majority of costs occurred within the first 6 months from diagnosis. Clinical stage was the most important predictor of costs for all cancer types. EQ-5D score was predictive of costs in colorectal cancer but not in breast or prostate cancer.
CONCLUSION: It is now possible to evaluate health-care cost using routine NHS data sets. Such methods can be utilised in future retrospective and prospective studies to efficiently collect economic data.