OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine cancer-related medical care costs for long term survivors of colorectal cancer. METHODS: The SEER-Medicare database was used to measure lifetime cancer-attributable costs of care for those with colorectal cancer surviving at least 5 yr versus age- and gender-matched controls. Costs were directly estimated, stratified by age at diagnosis and stage at diagnosis, for years 6-11 after diagnosis and then modeled to estimate lifetime costs. Cost differences between cancer cases and controls were compared to expected costs based on published guidelines for postcancer surveillance. RESULTS: Lifetime medical costs for long term survivors (future years not discounted) were up to $19,516 higher than control costs, and were highest for younger age groups and those with early-stage disease. Excess costs for cancer survivors exceeded expected surveillance costs by $2,223-8,822 for years 6-10 from the date of initial diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Cancer-attributable medical costs can be substantial for long term survivors, and exceed expected costs of surveillance. Future research is need to determine the components of excess cost in this survivor group.
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