Contribution of imaging to cancer care costs
Health care costs in the United States are increasing faster than the gross domestic product (GDP), and the growth rate of costs related to diagnostic imaging exceeds those of overall health care expenditures. Here we show that the contribution of imaging to cancer care costs pales in comparison to those of other key cost components, such as cancer drugs. Specifically, we estimate that (18)F-FDG PET or PET/CT accounted for approximately 1.5% of overall Medicare cancer care costs in 2009. Moreover, we propose that the appropriate use of (18)F-FDG PET or PET/CT could reduce the costs of cancer care. Because the U.S. health care system is complex and because it is difficult to find accurate data elsewhere, most cost and use assessments are based on published data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.