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VHA Costs to Treat Keratinocyte Carcinoma

by U.S. Medicine

December 5, 2016

MENLO PARK, CA—Keratinocyte carcinoma (KC) is by far the most common cancer in the United States, with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas accounting for about 80% and 20% of cases of KC, respectively.

The VHA treats a lot of cases of the condition, according to a new study published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, which sought to estimate the number of veterans treated for KCs—as well as the related diagnosis of actinic keratosis (AK) —and the costs of treating these conditions over a one-year period.1

The authors, led by researchers from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, conducted a cross-sectional analysis of veterans diagnosed with KC or AK during fiscal year 2012 using VHA administrative data on outpatient encounters and prescription drugs provided or paid for.

Results indicate that there were 49,229 veterans with basal cell carcinoma, 26,310 veterans with squamous cell carcinoma, and 8,050 veterans with unspecified invasive KC in 2012. In addition, 197,041 veterans had AK and 6,388 veterans had KC-related diagnoses.

The VHA spent $356 million on KC and AK outpatient treatment for procedures, prescription drugs  and other dermatologic care during FY2012, according to the report.

“There was high prevalence of KC and AK and considerable spending to treat these conditions in VHA,” study authors concluded. “Treatment costs are not generalizable to care provided by non-VHA providers where a facility fee was not incurred.”

1 Yoon J, Phibbs CS, Chow A, Pomerantz H, Weinstock MA. Costs of Keratinocyte Carcinoma (Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer) and Actinic Keratosis Treatment in the Veterans Health Administration. Dermatol Surg. 2016 Sep;42(9):1041-7. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000820. PubMed PMID: 27465252.


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