More Spending Doesn’t Mean More Survival
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Fighting cancer can be expensive, especially when it is advanced and more difficult to treat; luckily Medicare helps patients cover these costs. But, according to a new study, increased Medicare spending to treat advanced cancer is not associated with a higher likelihood of survival.
Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare linked data researchers analyzed the average spending and survival rates of patients with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreas, breast and prostate cancer between 2002 and 2007.
The results showed that Medicare spending was higher in certain regions compared to others but increased spending did not seem to help patients’ risk. In fact, advanced cancer patients with higher spending had more frequent hospital visits and longer hospital stays but their survival rates were the same as patients who spent less.
So, people with advanced cancer may be better off with a little less spending since it may cut down on their time spent in the hospital without affecting their chance of survival. The study authors believe doctors may be able to use these results to improve how advanced cancer patients are cared for.
Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, March 2013