The total cost of initial cancer treatment for Medicare beneficiaries has grown substantially since 1991 and reached $6.7 billion in 2002, researchers say. The costs grew with the program's expansion to cover more prescription drugs, as well as an increase in the number of patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Medicare should devise a plan on how to pay for costly new treatments and limit the use of such medication to cancer patients who will benefit the most, the study authors said.

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