Some health experts have recommended that any man who receives a PSA test result that puts them in a high-risk category for prostate cancer begin taking dutasteride, a medication that has been shown to reduce the size of enlarged prostates. However, a new study published by the journal Cancer Prevention Research has found that this is not a cost-effective way to prevent the disease.
While the drug has shown some benefits to men who are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, they are limited and outweighed by the cost, the study found. At an average annual cost of $1,400, dutasteride is an impractical solution for most men who receive elevated PSA test results.
For the study, the researchers compared the estimated lifetime cost of the drug with the projected quality and length of life for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. They found that while dutasteride does extend the lifespan and reduce the odds of developing cancer, it only does so to a small degree. These minimal benefits do not justify the high cost of the medication, the researchers said.
"Prior to instituting a chemoprevention strategy to a large population, the utility and cost need to be well understood," said Yair Lotan, who led the study. "Whether a medication improves survival, how it affects quality of life, and what its financial implications will be are all critical issues."
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