The cost of treatment and its related complications for men who receive surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer


  • Alaina Garbens University of Toronto
  • Christopher J.D. Wallis
  • Rano Matta
  • Ronald Kodama
  • Sender Herschorn
  • Steven Narod
  • Robert K. Nam



prostate cancer, radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, cost, complications


Introduction: We sought to examine the costs related to treatment and treatment-related complications for patients treated with surgery or radiation for localized prostate cancer.

Methods: We performed a population-based, retrospective, cohort study of men who underwent open radical prostatectomy or radiation from 2004‒2009 in Ontario, Canada. Costs, including initial treatment and inpatient hospitalization, emergency room visit, outpatient consultation, physician billings, and medication costs, were determined for five years following treatment using a validated costing algorithm. Multivariable negative binomial regression was used to assess the association between treatment modality and costs.

Results: A total of 28 849 men underwent treatment for localized prostate cancer from 2004–2009. In the five years following treatment, men who underwent radiation (n=12 675) had 21% higher total treatment and treatment-related costs than men who underwent surgery ($16 716/person vs. $13 213/person). Based on multivariable analysis, while men who underwent radiotherapy had a lower relative cost in their first year after treatment (relative rate [RR] 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.94–1.0; p=0.025), after year 2, annual costs were significantly higher in the radiation group compared to the surgery group (total cost for year 5, RR 1.44; 95% CI 1.17–1.76; p<0.0001). Our results were similar when restricted to young, healthy men and to older men.

Conclusions: Men who undergo radiation have significantly higher five-year total treatment-related costs compared to men who undergo open radical prostatectomy. While surgery was associated with slightly higher initial costs, radiotherapy had higher costs in subsequent years.


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How to Cite

Garbens, A., Wallis, C. J., Matta, R., Kodama, R., Herschorn, S., Narod, S., & Nam, R. K. (2018). The cost of treatment and its related complications for men who receive surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 13(8).



Original Research