Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High Medicare spending on prostate cancer screenings, but little benefit for older men

04.10.2013
Prostate cancer screening has little benefit for men aged 75 and older, yet over three years, the Medicare fee-for-service program spent $447 million annually on PSA-based screenings—one-third of which was for men in the over 75 age group, according to study by researchers at the Yale Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center.

Published in the Oct. 4 issue of the journal Cancer, the study also found considerable geographic variation in the cost of prostate cancer screening.

Many prostate cancers are slow-growing and unlikely to become problematic. Widespread screening with a serum-based PSA test may result in unnecessary invasive biopsies, which can be a physical burden or even harmful. In 2012, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force decided to stop recommending PSA screening for men of any age. Medicare, however, continues to reimburse for this test and the subsequent procedures.

Lead author Xiaomei Ma, associate professor at Yale School of Public Health, and her Yale COPPER Center colleagues conducted an observational study of older male Medicare beneficiaries who were free of prostate cancer and other lower urinary tract symptoms at the end of 2006, and followed them for three years.

In addition to large Medicare spending for prostate cancer screening in older men, the team found that the costs of prostate cancer screening ranged considerably from $17 to $62 per beneficiary across regions. The bulk of this variation was not due to the cost of PSA test itself, but rather to variation in costs of the follow-up tests across regions.

“More than 70% of prostate cancer screening-related costs were due to follow-up procedures,” said Ma, who is also a member of the Yale Cancer Center. “Our results suggest that the overall cost of prostate cancer screening may be heavily influenced by how urologists choose to respond to the result of a PSA test, more so than the use of the PSA itself.”

Meanwhile, the benefits of screening and treatment are not clear. While men living in high-spending regions were more likely to be diagnosed with localized cancers, they were not significantly less likely to be diagnosed with metastatic cancer. This suggests that spending more on prostate cancer screening might identify more localized tumors, but may not necessarily reduce the rate of metastatic cancers.

“In terms of what these results mean for Medicare spending, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Cary Gross, M.D., professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and director of the Yale COPPER Center. “Many older men who are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer may end up receiving therapy that is potentially toxic, has little chance of benefit, and carries substantial cost. In order to truly understand the costs of screening, the next step is to identify how many additional cancers are being diagnosed and treated as a result of screening older men for prostate cancer. We need better tools to target screening efforts towards those who are likely to benefit.”

“In a time when healthcare spending is soaring, it is important to weigh the physical, psychological, and financial burden of cancer screening against the possible clinical benefit,” said Gross, who is a member of the Yale Cancer Center. “The cancer research community needs to continue exploring novel approaches to target prostate cancer screening and treatment efforts, identifying and disseminating strategies that work, and abandoning strategies that don’t work.”

Other authors on the study include Rong Wang, Jessica B. Long, Joseph S. Ross, M.D., Pamela R. Soulos, James B. Yu, M.D., Danil V. Makarov, M.D., and Heather T. Gold.

The study was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Aging, the American Federation for Aging Research through the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award Program, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Yale Clinical and Translational Science Award grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

Citation: Cancer doi: 10.1002/cncr.28373 (Oct. 4, 2013)

Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>