Public health efforts to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers include HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. We quantified the annual healthcare cost of six HPV-related cancers in order to provide inputs in cost-effectiveness analyses and quantify the potential economic savings from prevention of HPV-related cancers in Norway.
Using individual patient-level data from three unlinked population-based registries, we estimated the mean healthcare costs 1) annually across all phases of disease, 2) during the first 3 years of care following diagnosis, and 3) for the last 12 months of life for patients diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer. We included episodes of care related to primary care physicians, specialist care (private specialists and hospital-based care and prescriptions), and prescription drugs redeemed at pharmacies outside hospitals between 2012 and 2014. We valued costs (2014 €1.00 = NOK 8.357) based on diagnosis-related groups (DRG), patient copayments, reimbursement fees and pharmacy retail prices.
In 2014, the total healthcare cost of HPV-related cancers amounted to €39.8 million, of which specialist care accounted for more than 99% of the total cost. The annual maximum economic burden potentially averted due to HPV vaccination will be lower for vulvar, penile and vaginal cancer (i.e., €984,620, €762,964 and €374,857, respectively) than for cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers (i.e., €17.2 million, €6.7 million and €4.6 million, respectively). Over the first three years of treatment following cancer diagnosis, patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer incurred the highest total cost per patient (i.e. €49,774), while penile cancer had the lowest total cost per patient (i.e. €18,350). In general, costs were highest the first year following diagnosis and then declined; however, costs increased rapidly again towards end of life for patients who did not survive.
HPV-related cancers constitute a considerable economic burden to the Norwegian healthcare system. As the proportion of HPV-vaccinated individuals increase and secondary prevention approaches advance, this study highlights the potential economic burden avoided by preventing these cancers.||