Breast Cancer Treatment Costs Vary Wildly, Study Finds

Customers who came into Posh Hair Salon this weekend came out looking good and feeling good, as proceeds from their haircuts went to breast cancer research.

October is breast cancer awareness month and new breast cancer screening recommendations from the American Cancer Society are in the spotlight.

But this new work by leading United Kingdom cancer experts looked at data on 1.4m women and found there was no association with night shift work.

Milena Pace-Collins, who has owned the West Brighton salon since February, wanted to do something to recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month- an annual global health campaign in which many organizations raise funds for research of the disease.

Breast cancer is also prevalent in men, but most men diagnosed with it are over the age of 60.

"It's an important cause", Mencini said, "until we eradicate it". Approximately 2,100 cases will be diagnosed each year.

When patients did receive trastuzumab-based therapies, insurance paid at least US$160,590 in half of cases, but that number varied, too, from US$106,369 to US$169,567, depending on the drugs. "Both physicians and patients need greater access to information about the treatment costs so this critical issue can be discussed during a patient's decision-making process".

Another shortcoming of the study is that insurance claims can lack data that influences costs, such as tumor characteristics or the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis.

High-priced chemotherapy isn't limited to breast cancer regimens, noted Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer in NY who wasn't involved in the study.

The new research is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"As physicians, we increasingly recognize the financial burden on our patients", she said.

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