Uterine Fibroid Tumor Therapy Costs U.S. Over $2 Billion

Treatment consumes a significant amount of health care resources

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- During the year 2000, the total direct cost to treat uterine fibroid tumors in the United States was $2.1 billion, which was due mostly to the cost of inpatient care for hysterectomy, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Michael K. Flynn, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues studied U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health care databases to estimate the costs of inpatient care, ambulatory care and outpatient care for patients with uterine fibroid tumors.

The researchers found that the number of inpatient procedures in women over 15 years of age increased 38 percent between 1996 and 2000, mainly due to a 36 percent increase in hysterectomy and 125 percent increase in inpatient, non-surgical care for fibroids. At the same time, there was a 30 percent decrease in outpatient visits for fibroids. The direct costs of fibroid tumors in 2000 was $2.1 billion, with $1.4 billion due to hospital costs and $308 million due to physician costs.

"These findings demonstrate that uterine fibroid tumors are a significant economic and health burden in the United States and disproportionately affect black women," the authors conclude. "Given this high burden of disease and the striking lack of high-quality evidence for the effectiveness of many currently used therapies, further research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of fibroid tumors should be given high priority."

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