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Saving Money, Saving Lives: Study Saves American Citizens More Than $570 Million in Health Costs.

ATLANTA, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new study published in this week's Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the United States and Canada saved $574.1 million in health costs by not implementing a pediatric cancer screening program for neuroblastoma between 1989 and 2002. In addition to the tremendous cost savings, the study also avoided unnecessarily treating more than 9,200 children for this most common form of pediatric malignant solid tumor, because these early tumors would have disappeared on their own.

The Quebec Neuroblastoma Screening Project (QNSP), led by William G. Woods, M.D., program director of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, evaluated the effectiveness of the infant neuroblastoma screening program in Canada. As part of the QNSP project, between 1989 and 1994, most newborns in Canada were screened for neuroblastoma, but researchers found that screening did not reduce neuroblastoma mortality and instead caused adverse health effects. As a result of this evaluation, widespread neuroblastoma screening was not implemented in North America, thus saving more than $570 million. Lee Soderstrom, Ph.D., economist at McGill University, led this survey of cost savings.

"Money spent on research today can save considerable healthcare dollars in the long run," said Dr. Woods. "By investing in research to evaluate the effectiveness of a health care intervention, we were able to avoid costing the American public millions of dollars, meanwhile saving American families the anguish of dealing with a child going through evaluation and even treatment for a potential malignant condition."

Studies that evaluate the cost and benefits of new health interventions can identify services that are clinically effective and promote their use. They can also identify programs that are ineffective and prevent their use, thereby avoiding both adverse effects on health and unnecessary spending, as in this case.

The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a national leader among childhood cancer, hematology, and blood and marrow transplant programs, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The Aflac Cancer Center was recognized as one of the top three pediatric cancer centers in the country by Child magazine in 2005. For more information, visit http://www.choa.org/cancer or call 404-250-KIDS.

Healthcare of Atlanta

CONTACT: Samantha Phillips of Aflac Cancer Center, +1-404-785-7581, or Samantha.Phillips@choa.org

Web site: http:/// http://www.choa.org/cancer
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 2, 2005
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