Cervical Cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers – if it is detected early enough. A patient may need more than one type of treatment depending on the type and stage. Could high costs keep you from getting the best treatment to save your life? Check out this article discussing Brachytherapy for Cervical Cancer and some issues that have come up. Please contact CCGYNONC with any further questions.
High costs drive underuse of brachytherapy for cervical cancer
High costs and greater usage of resources may explain the underuse of brachytherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer, according to findings published in International Journal of Radiation Oncology.
“Studies have time and time again shown that brachytherapy is the most important part of cervical cancer treatment, because it is essential to eradicating the tumor,” Timothy Showalter, MD, radiation oncologist at the University of Virginia Cancer Center, said in a press release. “A decline in brachytherapy utilization is associated with a higher rate of mortality in cervical cancer, so there’s a direct relationship.”
Showalter and colleagues evaluated the delivery costs and Medicare reimbursements for definitive radiation therapy in women with locally advanced cervical cancer. The researchers created process maps to represent each step of treatment, including equipment, personnel and consumable supplies. They also interviewed medical personnel to form an estimate of the time that would be consumed by treatment. Showalter and colleagues calculated the total cost of patient care, comparing the costs with 2016 Medicare reimbursement levels and relative value units.
Radiation therapy for cervical cancer cost a total of $12,861.68, with personnel costs constituting roughly half (49.8%) of the total. Brachytherapy represented 66.9% of the total cost, at $8,610.68. It also consumed 423 minutes of an attending radiation oncologist’s time — 80% of total.
The cost of brachytherapy was significantly higher than …