Lung cancer has been characterized as an expensive, futile, and self-induced illness. One of the most common questions pertaining to treatment is, "Is it worth it?" In the era of health care reform, attention has been directed toward common, high-cost illnesses that may benefit from closer examination of the clinical decisions that drive costs. This review explores the economic considerations of lung cancer treatment from the perspective of the patient, society, and those at risk for the costs of care. The concept of value is proposed as a framework to guide how lung cancer treatments should and should not be routinely used. Cost-effectiveness studies are highlighted that do not paint as dim a view of lung cancer therapy as may have been thought. However, it is clear that the 10 billion dollars spent yearly on lung cancer might be better used by limiting expenditures to the aspects of care that produce the best outcomes. This review includes comparisons of the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer care and treatments for other common cancers. It concludes with some strategies to use resources allocated to lung cancer more effectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research