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Cost-Effectiveness of Different Prostate Cancer Treatments

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Nationally, it's estimated that every year approximately eight billion dollars is spent on prostate cancer treatment. There are a number of different treatments for prostate cancer and most depend on the status of the patient - how old he is or how soon the tumor was discovered. Leslie Wilson, a professor of health economics and policy at the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy conducted a study looking into the cost effectiveness of various prostate cancer treatments.

Wilson:           What we did was just look at the cost piece of this and we compared costs across all these different kinds of treatments. Essentially what we found is that the treatment costs did vary, but they varied more on the severity of the patient than they did on the difference of the treatment. So, we concluded that some previous studies that showed that you shouldn't do some treatments because they were too costly were really only costly because they were treating the sickest patients. Therefore, people should still select treatments based not on cost, but on what was most appropriate for their treatment given their condition.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.