Most Unaware of Out-of-Pocket Costs for Prostate Cancer Tx

Most men would not have chosen a different treatment even if they had been aware of costs

FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients with localized prostate cancer know little about the out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE) of the different treatments, and would not have chosen a different treatment even if they had known the actual OOPE of their treatment, according to a study published in the December issue of Urology.

Olivia S. Jung, from Harvard Business School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a qualitative research study involving 41 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer enrolled from the urology and radiology practices of the University of Pennsylvania. Participants completed a semi-structured interview and questionnaire discussing the burden of OOPE, its effect on treatment decisions, and prior knowledge of OOPE.

Based on qualitative assessment, the researchers identified five major themes: "my insurance takes care of it;" "health is more important than cost;" "I did not look into it;" "I cannot afford it but would have chosen the same treatment;" and "it is not my doctor's business." Ninety-three percent of patients reported that, even if they had known the actual OOPE of their treatment, they would not have chosen a different treatment. A socioeconomically heterogeneous group reported feeling burdened by OOPE, and their choice of treatment was unaffected. Before choosing their treatment, only two of the patients reported knowing a lot about the likely OOPE for different treatments.

"Among insured patients with prostate cancer treated at a large academic medical center, few had knowledge of OOPE before making treatment choices," the authors write.

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