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Two rehabilitation support services for women with breast cancer deemed cost-effective

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Two rehabilitation support services for women with breast cancer were both found to be cost-effective.

"The purpose of this research was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of two rehabilitation interventions for breast cancer survivors, each compared to a population-based, non-intervention group (n 8). The two services included an early home-based physiotherapy intervention (DAART, n6) and a group-based exercise and psychosocial intervention (STRETCH, n1)," investigators in Australia reported.

"A societal perspective was taken and costs were included as those incurred by the health care system, the survivors and community. Health outcomes included: (a) 'rehabilitated cases' based on changes in health-related quality of life between 6 and 12 months post-diagnosis, using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer plus Arm Morbidity (FACT-B+4) questionnaire, and (b) quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) using utility scores from the Subjective Health Estimation (SHE) scale," explained L.G. Gordon and colleagues, Queensland Cancer Fund.

"Data were collected using self-reported questionnaires, medical records and program budgets. A Monte-Carlo modeling approach was used to test for uncertainty in cost and outcome estimates. The proportion of rehabilitated cases was similar across the three groups. From a societal perspective compared with the non-intervention group, the DAART intervention appeared to be the most efficient option with an incremental cost of $1344 per QALY gained, whereas the incremental cost per QALY gained from the STRETCH program was $14,478."

The researchers concluded, "Both DAART and STRETCH are low-cost, low-technological health promoting programs representing excellent public health investments."

Gordon and colleagues published their study in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (A cost-effectiveness analysis of two rehabilitation support services for women with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat, 2005;94(2):123-133).

For additional information, contact L.G. Gordon, Queensland Cancer Fund, POB 201, Brisbane, Qld 4004, Australia.

The publisher of the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment can be contacted at: Springer, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013, USA.

Keywords: Brisbane, County: Queensland, Australia, Breast Cancer, Breast Carcinoma, Cost Effectiveness, Oncology, Public Health, Quality of Life, Rehabilitation Support Services, Women's Health, DAART, STRETCH.

This article was prepared by Biotech Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2006, Biotech Week via

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