Medical and non-medical expenditure for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in China: a multicenter cross-sectional study

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We aimed to assess economic burden of breast cancer (BC) diagnosis and treatment in China through a multicenter cross-sectional study, and to obtain theoretical evidence for policy-making.


This survey was conducted in 37 hospital centers across 13 provinces in China from September 2012 to December 2014. We collected information on the subject characteristics. We then assessed the medical and non-medical expenditure for BC diagnosis and treatment, factors influencing the average case expense, variations between medical and non-medical expenditure at different clinical stages, economic impact of overall expenditure in newly diagnosed course after reimbursement to the patient's family, composition of non-medical expenditure and time loss for the patient and family.


Among 2746 women with BC (72.6% were admitted to specialized hospitals), the overall average expenditure was US $8450 (medical expenditure: $7527; non-medical expenditure: $922). Significant differences were found among the overall expenditure in the four clinical stages (P < 0.0001); the expenditure was higher in stages III and IV than that in stages I and II, whereas the stage IV was the highest (P < 0.0001). Moreover, a higher self-reported predicted reimbursement ratio was associated with a less economic impact on the patient's family, and the average time lost was estimated as $1529.


Early detection and treatment of breast cancer might be effective for decreasing the economic burden, because costs escalate as the degree of malignancy increases.

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