Surviving cancer doubles lifetime medical costs

Patients reported cancer treatment and ongoing medical visits interfered with productivity, physical and mental tasks.

CA survivors pay 2x as much in medical care
CA survivors pay 2x as much in medical care

HealthDay News – Male and female cancer survivors incur annual medical costs that are almost twice as much compared with the costs of patients who haven't had cancer, according to researchers.

“Cancer survivors face many challenges with medical care follow-up, managing the long-term and late effects of treatment, monitoring for recurrence, and an increased risk for additional cancers,” wrote Donatus U. Ekwueme, PhD, and colleagues, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“These survivors also face economic challenges, including limitations in work and daily activities, obtaining health insurance coverage and accessing health care, and increasing medical care costs.”

Using data from the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, investigators estimated annual medical costs and productivity losses among cancer survivors aged 18 years and older.

Male cancer survivors had annual medical costs of more than $8,000 per patient, compared with $3,900 for male patients without a history of cancer. Female cancer survivors reported $8,400 in yearly medical costs, compared with $5,100 for female patients who had never faced cancer.

Male cancer survivors had annual productivity losses of $3,700, compared with $2,300 for male patients without a history of cancer. Female survivors had $4,000 in lost productivity each year, compared with $2,700 for female patients who had not been diagnosed with cancer.

Employment disability accounted for nearly 75% of lost productivity among cancer survivors. Among patients who are employed, an estimated 42% had to make changes to their work hours and duties.

Almost a quarter of survivors said cancer and its treatment interfered with physical job tasks, and 14% reported that they had trouble performing mental tasks, according to the inspectors.

“The economic data presented in this report investigating the economic consequences of surviving cancer highlight the need to develop comprehensive intervention programs to improve the quality of the cancer survivorship experience and decrease the economic burden of cancer survivorship in the United States,” wrote the researchers.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014; 63(23):505-10.
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