Background: Third leading cause of mortality in the world is cancer, with more than 12 million new cases and nearly 7.6 million deaths in 2007. The time estimation of healthcare costs of patients with cancer is an important component in developing national programs and policies of cancer. The present study aimed to investigate the epidemiology and costs of hospitalization of patients with cancer who were admitted to a regional referral center of the eastern Iran.
Methods: The present research was descriptive and had a cross-sectional and population-based design. It was conducted on all patients with cancer in a regional referral center in eastern Iran in 2018. The files of hospitalized cancer patients with disease codes of C0 to D48/9 and all patients who were admitted to the center for the treatment of cancer in 2018 and those who were discharged, were extracted and classified based on international codes of ICD10. Costs of the present study consisted of four categories including direct costs of cancer patients, direct costs of admission due to the cancer, direct outpatient costs, and indirect costs. Statistical data analysis was done by using criteria such as frequency, mean, and standard deviation through STATA Version 11.
Results: During the study, 1467 cancer patients were referred to Omid Hospital of Mashhad. Among them, 49.9% were males and 50.1% were females. 183 patients were in age range of 56-60 years. The highest prevalence and hospitalization were related to cancer of gastrointestinal organs (36%), and the highest hospital cost belonged to cancers involving bone, cartilage and joints (51.855 USD). The total cost of treating cancer patients was 1074990 USD and the average cost of cancer patients was 73278 USD per patient. Hoteling with a portion of 28% comprised the highest cost. The patients’ share of out of pocket payment for treatment cost was 7% and the governmental share was 6%. The highest cost of treatment for cancer patients was paid by insurance companies (87%).
Discussion: The research results indicated that cancer patients bore high direct and indirect costs during their treatment; hence, new policies for reducing costs in these cases are needed. The increasing number of cancer patients and their treatment costs requires the active participation of all responsible organizations along with continuing financial support by financial institutions such as banks or charities and the development of appropriate government policies on supporting these patients.