A Descriptive Prospective Cohort Study At Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Tanzania to Estimate the Total Cost of Cervical Cancer Management

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)



Cervical cancer is the leading cancer in developing countries including Tanzania. In Tanzania, it is estimated that about 6,241 new cases of cervical cancer develop each year. Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) is the only specialized centre for cancer treatment in Tanzania, and it receives cancer patients from all over the country. The economic burden is important for policy formulation especially in Tanzania where cancer patients receive free treatment. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the actual cost of cancer treatment in Tanzania, with special emphasis on cervical cancer.


The study was a descriptive prospective cohort design whereby both direct cost as well as indirect cost were determined using a standardized questionnaire for each patient of all new cervical cancer patients that were recruited in October, 2013 and followed up for a period of two months. The findings of the study will assist management of ORCI and the Government in understanding the direct and indirect cost of cancer treatment which will lead to better planning for cancer care in the country. Results The overall cost per patient for cervical cancer ranged from TZS 2,036,732 (USD 1,257.24) to TZS 5,982,168 (USD 3,692.70) with the mean cost of TZS 3,972,972.74 (USD 2,452.45) [Median = TZS 4,140,426 (USD 2,555.82)]. Median direct cost was TZS 3,503,000 (USD 2,162.34) takes the largest share compared with the median indirect counterpart of TZS 643,480 (USD 397.21). The mean direct cost for outpatients and inpatients was TZS 1,684,000 (USD 1,039.50) [66.73% due to radiotherapy cost] and TZS 3,728,836.36 (USD 2,301.75) [52.42% due to admission cost], respectively. The mean indirect cost for outpatients and hospitalized patients was TZS 1,340,497 (USD 827.47) [55% due to food] and TZS 606,291.44 (USD 374.25) [47.38% due to food followed by 43% due to cost of working days lost], respectively.


As has been found in other studies, our findings revealed that cervical cancer creates an immense financial burden on patients and health care system. Primary prevention measures, vaccination against HPV and screening, should be initiated and expanded to reduce morbidity from cervical cancer and subsequent costs in both human lives and money resources. Control of co-morbidity and complication should be emphasized during management of cervical cancer patients. Capacitating zonal and regional hospitals and provision of low cost or fee exemption schemes should be arranged and strengthened.


This work was published - the author joined Aga Khan University.


Advance Research Journal of Cancer (ARJC)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.