Testicular cancer follow-up costs in Germany from 2000 to 2015.

Advances in testicular cancer screening and therapy increased 10-year survival to 97% despite a rising incidence; eventually expanding the population of survivors requiring follow-up. We analyzed 10-year follow-up costs after testicular cancer treatment in Germany during 2000, 2008, and 2015.

Testicular cancer follow-up guidelines were extracted from the European Association of Urology. Per patient costs were estimated with a micro-costing approach considering direct and indirect medical expenses derived from expert interviews, literature research, and official scales of tariffs. Three perspectives covering costs for patients, providers, and insurers were included to estimate societal costs. Cost progression was compared across cancer histology, stage, stakeholders, resource use, and follow-up years.

Mean 10-year follow-up costs per patient for stage I seminomatous germ-cell tumors (SGCT) on surveillance declined from EUR 11,995 in 2000 to EUR 4,430 in 2015 (p < 0.001). Advanced SGCT spending shrank from EUR 13,866 to EUR 9,724 (p < 0.001). In contrast, expenditure for stage II SGCT increased from EUR 7,159 to EUR 9,724 (p < 0.001). While insurers covered 32% of costs in 2000, only 13% of costs were reimbursed in 2015 (p < 0.001). 70% of SGCT follow-up resources were consumed by medical imaging (x-ray, CT, ultrasound, FDG-PET). Spending was unevenly distributed across follow-up years (years 1-2: 50%, years 3-5: 39%, years 5-10: 11%).

The increasing prevalence of testicular cancer survivors caused German statutory insurers to cut per patient cost by up to 80% by budgeting services and decreasing reimbursement rates. The economic burden was gradually redistributed to patients and providers.

Journal of cancer research and clinical oncology. 2021 Apr 22 [Epub ahead of print]

Thomas Michaeli, Julia Michaeli, Daniel Michaeli

Fifth Department of Medicine, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, Mannheim, 68167, Germany. ., Fifth Department of Medicine, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, Mannheim, 68167, Germany.