MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David R. Lairson, PhD
Professor of health economics
Department of Management, Policy, and Community Health
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The study of oropharyngeal cancer treatment cost was initiated by the Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as part of a larger study of the economic and health consequences of human papillomavirus (HPV) related conditions in Texas. State specific information is required for policy-makers to consider future investments in cancer prevention based on HPV immunization and cancer screening. The cost estimates at $140,000 per case for the first two years of treatment are substantially higher than previous estimates. They indicate the potential savings associated with cancer prevention and partially justify increased investment in immunization efforts.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Oropharyngeal cancer incidence is rising in the US with important health and economic consequences for individuals and the community. HPV immunization of adolescent boys and girls is effective and cost-effective in preventing a number of cancers, but currently under-utilized.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our future work will address the cost of other HPV related cancers and conditions and expand the analysis to lifetime and to costs incurred by public payers such as Medicaid. The cost data will be used in an economic-infectious disease state level model for assessing new strategies and programs for cancer prevention. Another part of our project is to assess effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alternative programs and strategies for increasing the HPV immunization rates in Texas. Rates of increase in immunizations are often assumed without a realistic assessment of the cost associated with large increases in immunization among the population.
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