- The economic costs of early stage prostate cancer are significant, and will likely increase as the proportion of older men grows in the population of industrialised nations. In the US, total costs have been estimated to range from US dollars 1.72 billion to US dollars 4.75 billion annually (1990 costs). Costs related to early stage prostate cancer arise from screening, staging and treatment. Cost-effectiveness models of population-based prostate cancer screening indicate that such screening could result in as much as US dollars 27.9 billion (1988 values) in charges to the US healthcare system. Evidence-based cancer-staging strategies would result in significant reduction of wasted expense. Rational allocation of healthcare dollars for prostate cancer screening and treatment may ultimately depend on data from randomised controlled trials.