QIMR Berghofer

Multiplicity of skin cancers in Queensland and their cost burden to government and patients.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost burden to government and patients for individuals with multiple skin cancers. METHODS: We used self-reported baseline data on socio-demographics, phenotype and sun exposure behaviours from participants in the QSkin Sun and Health Study with at least one histopathologically confirmed keratinocyte cancer or melanoma (n=5,673). Linkage to Australian Medicare data (2011-2014) provided resource data and government and out-of-pocket patient costs. Generalised linear models examined costs by frequency of skin cancer groups separately for melanoma and keratinocyte cancer. RESULTS: Over three years, 539 participants were diagnosed with melanoma (11% had =2 melanomas) and 5,134 participants were treated for keratinocyte cancers (10% had =6). Median Medicare costs per person were $1,325 (maximum $6,117) for =2 melanomas and $2,126 (maximum $54,618) for =6 keratinocyte cancers. Increased costs were associated with private health insurance. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who are multiply affected by skin cancers are relatively common and the accompanying individual and government cost burden can be substantial. These findings support skin cancer being classified as a chronic disease. Implications for public health: Over time, the economic burden for skin cancer for individuals and health providers is high and investment in prevention remains important from an economic viewpoint.

Authors Gordon, Louisa G; Elliott, Thomas M; Olsen, Catherine M; Pandeya, Nirmala; Whiteman, David C
Pages 86-91
Volume 42
Date 1/11/2017
Grant ID
Funding Body
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111/1753-6405.12738