Understanding the societal impact of treatment of early breast cancer

What are the non-clinical outcomes associated with disease progression?

by Daniela Rodriguez-Rincon, Brandi Leach, Catriona Manville

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Research Questions

  1. What types of impacts from treatment of early breast cancer are considered in the literature?
  2. What are the non-clinical impacts of recurrence of breast cancer on individuals, their family and wider society described in the literature?
  3. What are the barriers and enablers to influencing policy about and access to treatment of early breast cancer?

RAND Europe conducted a study on the societal impact of early breast cancer. This study was divided into three interconnected phases, which together aim to enrich the evidence base on the broader health, societal and economic impacts of treatment of early breast cancer, using a mixed methods approach. Our research focused on mapping the research landscape of treatment for early breast cancer, assessing the impact of recurrence on patients, their carers and wider society, and identifying the opportunities and barriers to accessing diagnosis and treatment in a selection of countries (Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain and the UK). This summary report presents the findings of the cross-analysis of the data gathered collected through all three phases. We found that early breast cancer is generally perceived, leading policymakers and payers to underestimate the need for investment in further improvements and innovation in treatment and delivery of care in early breast cancer. However, the cost of treating metastatic disease is greater than the cost of treating early breast cancer. This cost extends beyond economic costs to include indirect costs to patients, carers, and wider society, and this cost is not being linked to investing in treatment for early breast cancer. There is a need to communicate the importance and highlight the benefits of new treatment options for early breast cancer.

Key Findings

  • Existing effective treatment for early breast cancer may lead policymakers and payers to underestimate the need for investment in further improvements and innovation in treatment and delivery of care in early breast cancer.
  • The cost of treating metastatic disease and breast cancer recurrence is greater than the cost of treating early breast cancer.
  • Taking non-clinical outcomes into account, the cost of early breast cancer extends beyond the direct cost of care. It includes costs associated with quality of life, out-of-pocket expenses and costs as a result of loss of productivity.
  • The indirect impacts of early breast cancer treatment are not fully understood.
  • Some data are available to show a significant difference in quality of life (often a reduction) between those in whom the disease has progressed and a control population.
  • The economic impact of early breast cancer is not being linked to investing in treatment for early breast cancer. Therefore there is a need to communicate the importance and highlight the benefits of new treatment options for early breast cancer.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and conducted by RAND Europe.

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