Breast cancer accounts for 10 to 20 percent of the total cancer cost. The direct cost of cancer care are the health care expenses directly related to prevention and cancer treatment. The indirect cost, 2-3 times the direct cost include presenteeism, disability to work, absenteism and workers compensation. The aim of this study is to achieve a better understanding of the direct cost and the importance of the variables.
This retrospective descriptive study used the administrative data of AZ KLINA linked to the Cancer Registry of Belgium. The study comprised women diagnosed with breast cancer between July 2015 and December 2015. The direct health care costs were calculated for the diagnostic and treatment phase up to 365 days after diagnosis. The costs were grouped according to the different kinds of medical interventions. Regression analyses were performed for 3 dependent variables i.e. the patient contribution, the health insurance cost and the total cost. The type of room, age, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, antibody therapy, disease stage, number of hospital visits and right for increased reimbursement were independent variables.
The study population included 107 patients. The total mean cost of the diagnostic phase was 817 €, divided into the personal contribution of 80 € and the health insurance cost of 737 €. The mean patient cost of the treatment phase was 1.712 €, for the health insurance 17.282 €. The regression analyses revealed the number of hospital visits was significantly associated with total cost, patient cost and health insurance cost. The patient cost was highly predictive by the choice of the room. The total cost of the diagnostic phase for 107 patients was 87.377 €. Imaging 32.742 € and pathology 32.895 € were most important, followed by pharmacy 9.641 € and consultation 6.598 €. In the treatment phase radiotherapy 436.247 €, antibody treatment with trastuzumab 326.961 € were most important, followed by chemotherapy 189.729 €, hospitalisation cost 153.026 €, pathology cost 144.239 €, and surgery cost 134.251 €.
In our study an estimation was given of all direct medical costs of breast cancer of the diagnostic and treatment phase. The results can inform hospital executives and policy makers to determine further strategic decisions for financing breast cancer care.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
University of Antwerp.
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.