“Best care” doesn’t equate to better outcomes! That’s not good!

A poster by Schroeck et al. — to be presented on May 20 at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) — presents the latest set of data suggesting that “best care” does not lead to appropriate outcomes quality for men receiving standard forms of treatment for localized prostate cancer. … READ MORE …

Cost and prevalence of PSA testing in Medicare patients > 70 years old

A recent article in Cancer has stimulated media coverage of the appropriate role of PSA testing in men of > 70 years of age and costs covered by Medicare for PSA tests in men over this age. … READ MORE …

The over-treatment of low-risk disease in the Medicare community

So there’s a lot of media coverage this morning about an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that, here in the USA, more men with low-risk forms of localized prostate cancer are getting more expensive types of treatment for their cancer (and that much of this treatment may be of dubious value). … READ MORE …

VHA cancer management quality study does NOT include prostate cancer

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has provided data regarding the survival of men of 65 years and older diagnosed with and treated for selected cancers within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system as compared to similar men treated under the fee-for-service Medicare system. This study has received a lot of media coverage. … READ MORE …

Do cancer and non-cancer patients make equal sacrifices to pay for their meds?

Sometimes it is difficult to know what to make of data  from even the most reputable institutions. This appears to be the case for a recent study from a Harvard research team. … READ MORE …

Utilization of standard treatments for localized prostate cancer by Medicare beneficiaries

In a new paper just published on-line in the Journal of Urology, Kapoor et al. have provided data on trends in the utilization of various major types of treatment for the management of localized prostate cancer among Medicare beneficiaries in the USA between 2006 and 2008. … READ MORE …

CMS proposes Medicare coverage for Provenge

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed yesterday that there is sufficient and adequate evidence to conclude that the use of autologous cellular immunotherapy treatment — sipuleucel-T (Provenge®) – improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries … READ MORE …

Provenge wins favorable vote at CMS hearing

Physicians and researchers on a panel advising the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave Provenge® a favorable vote at a “National Coverage Analysis” hearing yesterday in Washington, DC. You could almost hear the world of prostate cancer survivors, their physicians, Dendreon investors, and other drug development companies breathe a sigh of relief! … READ MORE …

Changes in use of LHRH agonists between 2003 and 2005 and related matters

Financial disincentives related to prescribing of LHRH agonists introduced in 2003 have clearly been associated with changes in actual physician prescriptions for drugs like Lupron and Zoladex in the immediately following years. … READ MORE …

Fears that Medicare might not cover Provenge unfounded

Yesterday evening, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was opening a “national coverage analysis to determine whether or not autologous cellular immunotherapy [for prostate cancer with sipuleucel-T/Provenge] is reasonable and necessary.” … READ MORE …

How much do we want to pay for treating prostate cancer?

Whether we like it or not, there are significant costs associated with the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer over time. And there are very few good data (to date) on the relative costs associated with differing types of treatment over time. … READ MORE …

Medicare advisors discuss radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Reuters has published a summary report on the discussions of a Medicare advisory panel (MedCAC) held yesterday to address the value of different types of radiation therapy in the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer. … READ MORE …

The regional vagaries of Medicare coverage (in the USA)

An article in today’s New York Times addresses an issue of potentially growing importance for Medicare beneficiaries with prostate cancer. Is the form of treatment you want covered where you live? … READ MORE …

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