U.S. Cancer Care Costs to Be $158 Billion in 2020

ADVANCE for Imaging and Radiation Therapy Professionals | The estimated total cost of cancer care in the U.S. in 2020 is expected to be $158 billion assuming the most recent observed patterns of incidence, survival, and cost remain the same. This represents a 27 percent increase from 2010 due only to the projected aging and growth of the U.S. population, according to a study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, the authors also note the cost of cancer care could rise even more quickly under some reasonable assumptions such as a 2 percent annual increase in costs of the initial and final phases of cancer care.

To estimate the national medical cost of cancer care through the year 2020 for 13 cancers in men and 16 cancers in women, Angela Mariotto, PhD, and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, analyzed data on cancer incidence and survival from the (SEER) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database http://seer.cancer.gov/ and Medicare expenditures associated with cancer from the linked SEER-Medicare database http://healthservices.cancer.gov/seermedicare/. They combined prevalence and cancer costs by phase of care and used U.S. Census population projections to calculate cancer care costs through the year 2020.

The researchers projected prevalence by phase of care under different assumptions about future incidence and survival. Incidence is decreasing for most of the cancer sites. But even with declining incidence rates, the absolute number of individuals diagnosed with cancer will continue to increase because of population changes. The researchers also projected costs by phase of care under different assumptions about future trends.

The authors write, “Costs of care for cancer patients who die of their disease follows a U-shaped curve, with the highest costs in the initial phase following diagnosis and the phase before death, and the lowest costs in the period in-between, the continuing phase.”

Read more on advanceweb.com.

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