The right amount of chemotherapy in non-curable disease: insights from health economics

Jeffrey S. Hoch, Jaclyn Beca, Charlotte Chamberlain, Kelvin K.W. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article applies concepts from health economics to address what is the “right” amount of chemotherapy in non-curable disease. A health economics perspective is beneficial because it forces a focus on objectives and constraints. We review and apply the concepts of “Choice of Comparator”, “Use of QALYs” and “Equating Marginal Benefit to Marginal Cost”, demonstrating their fit for purpose when considering the optimal amount of chemotherapy for non-curable disease. Many efforts underway to improve healthcare can be viewed as applications of these key economic principles. The true value is in the concepts themselves and not in the associated calculations. Given the difference between a population and a patient perspective, different “optimal” amounts of chemotherapy may exist. For many, however, best may not be most. Optimal decisions may vary depending on whether the goal of treatment is to maximize hope or health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Policy
Early online date31 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Health economics
  • economic evaluation
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • QALYs
  • Marginal


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