The economic consequences of prostate and bladder cancer in the UK


Narasimhan Ragavan, Department of Urology, Royal Preston Hospital, Preston PR2 9HT, UK.



To compare the costs of managing prostate and bladder cancer and relate them to current expenditure on research, as the increasing prevalence of both necessitates the adequate direction of resources.


All new prostate and bladder cancers diagnosed in 2001–2002 were identified from British Association of Urological Surgeons Section of Oncology database (national and local). The total cost of diagnosing, treating and following patients for 5 years was estimated as the sum of direct costs (National Health Service) and indirect costs (loss of earnings). Annual research fund allocation (RFA) for each cancer were obtained from the National Cancer Research Institute UK.


There were 15 099 and 7703 patients with newly diagnosed prostate (mean age 72.3 years) and bladder cancers (mean age 71.3 years). The total cost for prostate cancer was estimated at £92.74 million, with hormonal therapy alone costing £63.1 million. The total cost for bladder cancer was £55.39 million, of which superficial disease cost £35.25 million. The mean cost per patient was more for bladder than for prostate cancer (£8349 vs. £7294). The RFA allocation during this period was £20.56 million and £4.62 million for prostate and bladder cancer, respectively, and the respective RFA allotment per pound spent on the mean cost of disease management per patient was £2818 and £553.


Individual patient management is more costly for bladder cancer but less is invested in research than for prostate cancer. This study suggests a need to re-evaluate future strategies.