A Large Study Sheds Light on the Cost of Managing NHL

Caroline Helwick

February 2012, Vol 3, No 1 - ASH Annual Meeting

A large, ongoing Canadian study provides an overview of the cost of managing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). “Our study provides total and stage-specific cost estimates for NHL, where attributable costs were 3- to 7-fold higher than those for non-NHL controls, and increased by stage,” said Pierre K. Isogai, BSc, of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Mr Isogai and colleagues identified 13,336 patients with NHL in the Ontario Cancer Registry (2005-2009) and compared them with 65,668 matched controls from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences database who were demographically similar and used healthcare resources but did not have cancer.

Resources for the analysis included physician visits, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, drugs, home care, and same-day surgeries. Costs were inflated to 2009 Canadian dollars ($0.88 US) and were presented as the mean annual cost for all patients and by clinical stage. A public payer’s perspective was used.

The participants’ median age was 68 years, and 55% were male. Geograph­ically, 86% of both groups were from urban areas.

The mean cost difference between the NHL and the control groups represents the mean cost attributable to NHL diagnosis and treatment.

The mean annual cost of managing NHL was $16,778; the cost by stage at diagnosis ranged from $9575 for stage I to $26,099 for stage IV.

“So, for a typical patient, we spent about $16,000 extra per year,” Mr Isogai noted. “By stage, end of life was the most expensive, costing up to $25,000 versus less than $10,000 for stage I patients.”

Mean Annual Costs of Managing Patients with NHL versus Controls
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Five cost categories were analyzed by the time for reporting at the meeting: health insurance plan, hospitalization, same-day surgery, drug costs, and home care (Table).

The study is ongoing; the re­searchers will be analyzing additional data, including cancer clinic visits, other drugs, and radiation therapy.