Estimated Healthcare Costs of Melanoma in Australia Over 3 Years Post-Diagnosis
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Background: Skin cancer exerts a large and growing burden on health systems. With new pharmacotherapies for metastatic melanoma now available, a contemporary understanding of the cost burden of melanoma control is warranted. Objective: To comprehensively assess the healthcare costs of malignant melanoma diagnosis and treatment in Australia, over 3 years after diagnosis. Methods: We developed a decision-analytic model and micro-costing method to estimate the mean cost per patient for melanoma, incorporating all diagnostic and treatment modalities used in Australia (2017 AU$). By using the de-identified 10% sample of Medicare Benefits Scheme, we analysed health service use and supplemented our analyses with published estimates. We took a health system cost perspective, and addressed input uncertainty with sensitivity analyses. Results: The mean annual cost per patient for melanoma stage 0/I/II was AU$1681 (US$1175) rising to AU$37,729 (US$26,365) for stage III resectable, and AU$115,109 (US$80,440) for stage III unresectable/IV. Three-year costs for stage III unresectable/IV were AU$187,720. Nationally, the annual estimated cost for treatment of all new cases of in situ and invasive melanomas was AU$201 million (95% CI: AU$187 to AU$216 million). When we included treatments for presumptive melanoma later found to be benign lesions, the estimated annual cost burden reached AU$272 million. Conclusion: With rapidly rising treatment costs, there is a need to consider a comprehensive melanoma control strategy that includes primary prevention of skin cancers and cost-effective sun protection initiatives.
Applied Health Economics and Health Policy
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified