Doctors who treat prostate cancer are pleased to have new drugs that seem to extend the lives of their patients by several months. The medications include Provenge, Jevtana and Zytiga. While it is encouraging that these compounds can prolong survival, patients and doctors are looking askance at the price. The maker of Provenge charges $93,000 for a course of treatment, and Jevtana runs approximately $50,000. Zytiga costs $5,000 or so per month. Medicare and private insurance companies are deliberating over whether to cover these medications.
Doctors are also enthusiastic about new medications such as Xgeva that keep prostate cancer from spreading into the bones. It appears that in the future prostate cancer will be treated with a combination or a series of medicines. The new approach to treatment will be able to offer some men a new lease on life, but may be financially out of reach for others.
[American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, June 5, 2011]