, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 367-377
Date: 03 Aug 2007

Assessing the economic burden of breast cancer in a US managed care population

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Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer and second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US. This study compared healthcare resource utilization and costs in women with breast cancer to a control group in a managed care population.

Material and methods

Women ≥ 18 years with breast cancer were identified using ICD-9 codes from claims databases of five US health plans during 2004. A randomly matched control group of women without cancer served as a comparator group. Healthcare costs included all medical and pharmacy costs during the year. Comparisons were made using per patient per month (PPPM) costs (total costs per patient within 2004 calendar year/months of eligibility).


10,697 women (mean age 55 years) with breast cancer were identified (prevalence of 250 per 100,000) in 2004, with prevalence increasing with age. Mean attributable PPPM costs associated with breast cancer were $2,896 (median = $1,940) with hospitalization contributing most of the costs ($1,340), followed by pharmacotherapy ($537), and surgical intervention ($470). Mean unadjusted all-cause PPPM total costs were $4,421 (median = $2,964) compared to $3,352 (median = $665) p < 0.0001) for cases and controls respectively. Multivariate analyses controlling for differences in comorbidities showed mean adjusted PPPM costs to be 2.28 times (p < 0.0001) higher than non-breast cancer controls.


This study demonstrated that breast cancer treatment was associated with substantial healthcare costs, driven mainly by hospitalizations. Projected annual costs for a breast cancer patient would be at least $12,828 higher than that for women without breast cancer based upon unadjusted cost differences.