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BACKGROUND: Cancer patients are at significant risk of developing sepsis due to underlying malignancy and necessary treatments. Little is known about the economic burden of sepsis in this high-risk population. We estimate the short- and long-term healthcare costs of care of cancer patients with and without sepsis using individual-level linked-administrative data. METHODS: We conducted a population-based matched cohort study of cancer patients aged ≥18, diagnosed between 2010 and 2017. Cases were identified if diagnosed with sepsis during the study period, and were matched 1:1 by age, sex, cancer type and other variables to controls without sepsis. Mean costs (2018 Canadian dollars) for patients with and without sepsis up to 5 years were estimated adjusted using survival probabilities at partitioned intervals. We estimated excess cost associated with sepsis presented as a cost difference between the two cohorts. Haematological and solid cancers were analysed separately. RESULTS: 77,483 cancer patients with sepsis were identified and matched. 64.3% of the cohort were aged ≥65, 46.3% female and 17.8% with haematological malignancies. Among solid tumour patients, the excess cost of care among patients who developed sepsis was $29,081 (95%CI, $28,404-$29,757) in the first year, rising to $60,714 (95%CI, $59,729-$61,698) over 5 years. This was higher for haematology patients; $46,154 (95%CI, $45,505-$46,804) in year 1, increasing to $75,931 (95%CI, $74,895-$76,968). CONCLUSIONS: Sepsis imposes substantial economic burden and can result in a doubling of cancer care costs, particularly during the first year of cancer diagnosis. These estimates are helpful in improving our understanding of burden of sepsis along the cancer pathway and to deploy targeted strategies to alleviate this burden.

Original publication





PLoS One

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