Research into costs of cancer follow-up wins conference award

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Dr Alison Pearce has won a Young Investigator of the Year Award at the Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer, hosted by the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) and the International Society of Oral Oncology (ISOO). The Young Investigator of the Year Awards recognise outstanding young investigators’ research accomplishments.

The award was given for Alison’s work with Ms Fay Ryan, a health economist who completed her Masters project with the National Cancer Registry in 2014. Their project looked at the costs of prostate cancer follow-up care in Ireland as part of the Challenges in Cancer Survivorship project.  

Prostate cancer follow-up care is traditionally provided by clinicians in hospital settings. However, growing numbers of prostate cancer survivors mean this may not be economically sustainable and a number of alternative approaches have been suggested. Alison and Fay compared the costs of three alternative strategies for prostate cancer follow-up care in Ireland.

The results indicate that following the UK-based National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines was the most cost efficient follow-up strategy, because NICE recommend follow-up care of well patients be conducted by General Practitioners (GPs) after 2 years, rather than continuing to see hospital-based clinicians. Alison and Fay estimated that the Irish health care system could have saved €760,000 over a 10-year period if the NICE guidelines were adopted in Ireland.

This was the first study investigating the costs of prostate cancer follow-up in the Irish setting, and Alison and Fay’s work was ranked in the top 10 abstracts by junior investigators submitted to the conference, which was held last week in Copenhagen. 

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