Breast Cancer Treatment Costs Vary Wildly, Study Finds | NECN

Breast Cancer Treatment Costs Vary Wildly, Study Finds

A woman reluctant to order a test because of the high cost of treatment sparked the idea for the study



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    In this June 17, 2003, file photo, a breast cancer patient receives a chemotherapy drip at a Fayetteville, North Carolina, medical center. A 2016 study has found that the cost of treatment varies wildly.

    A new study has found that breast cancer patients, insurance companies and government health plans are needlessly paying $1 billion to treat the disease, NBC News reported.

    The cost of cancer treatment varies wildly, with no apparent rhyme or reason, Dr. Sharon Giordano and colleagues at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported Monday in the journal Cancer.

    Expenses across a single class of drugs varied by as much as $46,000, according to the study, which reviewed four years of insurance claims filed by more than 14,000 breast cancer patients. And swapping one treatment for a less toxic alternative cut both the side effects and the costs.

    Giordano told NBC News that the idea for the study came when a patient was reluctant to order a test confirming her cancer was gone: "She shared with me that she was still on a payment plan, still trying to pay off the debt from her breast cancer treatment five years earlier."