Estimation of Direct Melanoma-related Costs by Disease Stage and by Phase of Diagnosis and Treatment According to Clinical Guidelines
Alessandra Buja, Gino Sartor, Manuela Scioni, Antonella Vecchiato, Mario Bolzan, Vincenzo Rebba, Vanna Chiarion Sileni, Angelo Claudio Palozzo, Maria Montesco, Paolo Del Fiore, Vincenzo Baldo, Carlo Riccardo Rossi
Cutaneous melanoma is a major concern in terms of healthcare systems and economics. The aim of this study was to estimate the direct costs of melanoma by disease stage, phase of diagnosis, and treatment according to the pre-set clinical guidelines drafted by the AIOM (Italian Medical Oncological Association). Based on the AIOM guidelines for malignant cutaneous melanoma, a highly detailed decision-making model was developed describing the patient’s pathway from diagnosis through the subsequent phases of disease staging, surgical and medical treatment, and follow-up. The model associates each phase potentially involving medical procedures with a likelihood measure and a cost, thus enabling an estimation of the expected costs by disease stage and clinical phase of melanoma diagnosis and treatment according to the clinical guidelines. The mean per-patient cost of the whole melanoma pathway (including one year of follow-up) ranged from €149 for stage 0 disease to €66,950 for stage IV disease. The costs relating to each phase of the disease’s diagnosis and treatment depended on disease stage. It is essential to calculate the direct costs of managing malignant cutaneous melanoma according to clinical guidelines in order to estimate the economic burden of this disease and to enable policy-makers to allocate appropriate resources.