A cost analysis of a community-based support centre for cancer patients and their families in Ireland: the EVeCANs study

Abstract

Cancer patients and their families experience a range of physical, psychological and financial adverse effects. Community-based cancer centres offer a range of services and interventions, free of charge, to support those affected by cancer. While shown to be effective, there is a lack of information on the costs of these services. Our aim was to estimate the resource impact of a community-based cancer support centre. Over a 7-month period, there were 2032 contacts with 238 clients whose average age was 60 years. The most frequently used services were transport to treatment (20%), complementary therapies (48%), exercise classes (10%) and counselling (9%). This cost analysis estimated total annual cost to provide all services was €313,744. Average annual cost per person was €1138. Current uptake at the centre represents 8% of all cancer incidences in seven counties surrounding the centre. If uptake increases by 10%, scenario analyses predict an increase in total costs increase to €429,043 and a decrease in costs per patient to €915. As cancer incidences increase, the need for supportive care is growing. Community-based services have been established to meet these needs and fill this gap in national health services. Long-term sustainability of these centres is uncertain as they are entirely reliant on donations and volunteers. This analysis estimates the costs of one such community-based cancer support centre, for the first time in Ireland. Findings can be used to inform future planning of cancer supportive care services, including establishing links between tertiary and community-based centres, and cost effectiveness analyses, nationally and internationally.

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Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Mrs. Jacqueline Daly, Director of Service at EG&M Cancer Support, Seamus Daly, Irena Plaksey, Anna O’Bara (at EG&M Cancer Support) and all the volunteers (too numerous to name) at the centre for their help during this study and their ongoing work at the centre. The authors would also like to especially thank all of the people who took part in the EveCans study.

Funding

This research was funded by Breakthrough Cancer Research.

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Frances J Drummond initiated the study, obtained the funding, collected the patient data and contributed to writing the background and discussion sections. Aileen Murphy designed the study, interpreted data and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. Ryan Wong Chu analysed and interpreted the data and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Aileen Murphy.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Clinical Research Ethics Committee Cork.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants involved in the study.

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Murphy, A., Chu, R.W. & Drummond, F.J. A cost analysis of a community-based support centre for cancer patients and their families in Ireland: the EVeCANs study. Support Care Cancer (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05508-8

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Keywords

  • Support
  • Community
  • Patients
  • Families
  • Costs