Given the rising price of cancer treatment, access to low-cost MRI scans and other imaging modalities can be a crucial part of keeping care affordable. Diagnostic imaging has been a growing part of treatment for many types of cancer since at least 1999, but that’s not the only price increase confronting patients.
Between 2011 and 2016, list prices for pills used to treat cancer doubled. Of the 39 cancer-treatment drugs available in 2010, six doubled or tripled their prices, reports NPR. Another became four times as expensive. Yet another multiplied its price by eight.
As a result of these price increases, some patients are skipping or reducing potentially life-saving medications. A 2013 study published in the journal Oncologist found some alarming numbers:
- Of the 254 participants in the study, all patients receiving treatment for cancer, 24 percent didn’t fill prescriptions due to cost.
- One-fifth of the participants rationed their medication, taking less than prescribed to stretch the bottle further.
- Nearly that many, 19 percent, only partially filled their prescriptions in the first place.
These prices are affecting patient care. Any way to reduce the overall cost of cancer treatment will help to alleviate the burden, potentially adding years to patients’ lives. But how much difference can the price of diagnostic imaging really make?
Diagnostic Imaging Contribution to the Price of Cancer Treatment
The landmark study proving the growth of diagnostic imaging in cancer treatment is from 2010, but the trend described there seems to be holding. The study in question begins with the fact that, during the study period, diagnostic imaging was Medicare’s fastest-growing expense. Previously, though, no one had checked on imaging’s role in cancer care specifically.
The researchers examined 5 percent of all the claims for six leading types of cancer available from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services between 1999 and 2008. They noted Medicare’s cost on diagnostic imaging for each year. What they found is a steady upward trend in the use of several imaging modalities as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan:
- The total price of treatment for cancer increased each year, with the rates of increase between 1.8 percent and 4.6 percent.
- At the same time, the price of diagnostic imaging during cancer treatment increased between 5.1 percent and 10.3 percent every year of the study.
- These figures show that the price of imaging as a share of total cancer treatment increased during the period of the study.
The price increases noted in the study suggest that reducing the cost of diagnostic imaging can make a real difference for patients.
Find Low Cost MRI Scans, PET/CT, and Ultrasounds in Your Area
As part of an overall treatment plan, patients can choose a provider for diagnostic imaging services. BestPriceMRI.com serves a growing number of communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and beyond with some of the lowest prices available for high-quality medical imaging.
Check the BestPriceMRI.com location-finder tool to compare prices on common imaging procedures. To make an appointment for a low cost MRI scan or other imaging procedure, follow the prompts online, or call our friendly scheduling team at 888-322-7785 today.