Oncologists not only need to stay abreast of the latest cancer treatment options but also the costs of those options, says a

"A doctor’s job is to provide the best care for his or her patients," said Michael Halpern, a senior researcher at RTI and co-author of the study. "Unless clinicians, other cancer health care providers, and cancer researchers are active participants in discussions regarding the costs and benefits of new interventions, others will make these cost-effectiveness conclusions."

The study was published in the latest issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

For example, the study noted that while some new advances may help “specific populations” the costs may be substantially higher.

Examples cited included magnetic resonance imaging screening for breast caner at $1,000 per image and $48,000 for intensity-modulated radiation therapy treating prostate cancer.

"In our country’s medical system, patients are often required to pay for a proportion of their medical care," said Ya-Chen Tina Shih, an associate professor at the UT cancer center and the lead author of the study. "As the growth of medical care costs outpaces general inflation, patients are spending an increasing proportion of their family incomes on medical care. In addition, limited health care funds require medical care to be prioritized to determine the most reasonable use of those funds. These factors make it increasingly important for clinicians to consider the economic aspect of cancer treatments so they are providing their patients with information on the costs and benefits of different treatment options."