Provider costs of treating colorectal cancer in government hospital of Malaysia

Meram Azzani, Maznah Dahlui, Wan Zamaniah Wan Ishak, April Camilla Roslani, Tin Tin Su

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Background: The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is rapidly rising in several Asian countries, including Malaysia, but there is little data on health care provider costs in this region. The aim of this study was to estimate the cost of CRC management from the perspective of the health care provider, based on standard operating procedures. Methods: A combination of top-down approach and activity-based costing was applied. The standard operating procedure (SOP) for CRC was developed for each stage according to national data and guidelines at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). The unit cost was calculated and incorporated into the treatment pathway in order to obtain the total cost of managing a single CRC patient according to the stage of illness. The cost data were represented by means and standard deviation and the results were demonstrated by tabulation. All cost data are presented in Malaysian Ringgit (RM). The cost difference between early stage (Stage I) and late stage (Stage II-IV) was analysed using independent t-test. Results: The cost per patient increased with stage of CRC, from RM13,672 (USD4,410.30) for stage I, to RM27,972 (USD9,023.20) for Stage IV. The early stage had statistically significant lower cost compared to late stage t(2) = -4.729, P = 0.042. The highest fraction of the cost was related to surgery for Stage I, but was superseded by oncology day care treatment for Stages II-IV. CRC is a costly illness. From a provider perspective, the highest cost was found in Stages III and IV. The early stages conserved more resources than did the advanced stages of cancer. Conclusion: Early diagnosis and management of CRC, therefore, not only affects oncologic prognosis, but has implications for health care costs. This adds further justification to develop and implement CRC screening programmes in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-86
Number of pages14
JournalMalaysian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Health care cost
  • Malaysia
  • Provider perspective

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