Pharmacoeconomic Considerations in Treating Ovarian Cancer
Charlotte C. Sun
David M. Gershenson
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death in women with gynaecological cancers. The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer. Referred to as the `silent' killer, this disease is difficult to detect because of the lack of specific symptoms. The majority of women who have ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the advanced stages. While the exact cause of ovarian cancer remains elusive, it is believed that the events relating to incessant ovulatory function play a major role in the development of this disease. Long term prognosis of women with ovarian cancer remains grim. Although ovarian cancer is highly responsive to chemotherapy, most women will develop persistent or recurrent disease after primary treatment. The standard front-line treatment is paclitaxel in combination with a platinum-based agent; however, toxicities associated with paclitaxel must be weighed against the clinical benefit. The economic issues associated with the treatment of ovarian cancer involve costs of chemotherapy agents and management of supportive care. Patient preferences and quality-of-life issues are also of major importance because of the short survival benefit for most patients. Therefore, quality of life must be maximised alongside efforts to prolong survival. More research is necessary to determine what trade-offs (e.g. adverse effects of treatment) patients are willing to make for modest gains in survival.
Antineoplastics, Cost analysis, Ovarian cancer, Pharmacoeconomics, Quality of life, Radiotherapy
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