A new study finds that a “cleanse” for people with cancer can cost as much as $2,000, and that a typical treatment plan is about $5,000.
But a study published Thursday by the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Health Services Research found that even a modest treatment plan can be much cheaper.
The report, published in the journal Health Affairs, found that the average cost of a typical outpatient treatment plan for people diagnosed with cancer is about a quarter of what it would be if they were receiving chemotherapy alone.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” said study author Dr. Mark Belsky, director of the Mayo clinic’s Center on Hematology and Oncology.
“The chemo doesn’t kill you, it’s the chemotherapy that kills you.”
The Mayo study, which was conducted by a team led by Dr. Robert B. Bausch, also found that a significant proportion of people who get chemotherapy alone receive treatment that is not as expensive or as effective as the treatment they would receive if they received chemotherapy together.
For example, a typical chemotherapy treatment plan could cost $3,000 for a standard-of-care plan, but the cost of the average treatment for a cancer patient with no symptoms could be up to $5.50, the study found.
This means that a person who received chemotherapy alone could be paying a total of about $2.75 million for their treatment.
And while people may get to spend that money on treatments that have been shown to have a higher success rate, the results suggest that a much better option is the chemo treatment alone, the Mayo researchers said.
The study looked at patients with a total tumor mass of 5 cm or less that had not responded to other treatments.
The authors said that patients were asked to complete a short questionnaire on cancer-related symptoms, including pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, sleep, and other health issues.
The questionnaire also asked about their past cancer treatment and the extent to which they had used alternative treatment options.
Patients were then randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy, either in a group of 10 patients who received the chemotherapy plus surgery, or in a different group of 12 patients who got chemotherapy plus chemotherapy alone without surgery.
Each patient had a diagnosis of either pancreatic cancer or breast cancer.
The Mayo researchers also asked the patients to complete questionnaires about their physical activity, their health, and whether they had received medical care.
The researchers found that when the patients were assigned to a treatment group, their cancer rates were significantly higher in the chemotherapy group, as were the patients’ rates of other health problems, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.
The findings suggest that chemotherapy treatments may not be the best option for everyone, the researchers said, and they suggest that patients may benefit from a second type of treatment option for cancer patients.
Patients who have cancer and want to try a treatment plan that is tailored to their cancer symptoms and symptoms-related health problems can be more likely to get the same results as those who do not, said Belski.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the chemotherapy is a better option for most people,” he said.