Financial Burden of Cancer Survivorship Varies by Age, Cancer Site
Survivors of cancer pay thousands of dollars in excess medical expenditures every year, with the excess financial burden varying by age and cancer site, according to a new American Cancer Society study. The study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, says targeted efforts will be important to reduce the economic burden of cancer.
As a group, cancer survivors (estimated to number 14.5 million in the United States in 2014) face greater economic burden, including medical expenditures and productivity losses. But relatively little is known about whether that burden varies by cancer site compared to similar individuals without a cancer history.
Researchers led by Zhiyuan 'Jason' Zheng, PhD, senior health services researcher in the Surveillance and Health Services Research program at the American Cancer Society, used 2008 to 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to measure excess economic burden attributable to the three most prevalent cancers. They calculated excess annual medical expenditures and productivity losses (employment disability, missed work days, and days stayed in bed) for colorectal (n = 540), female breast (n = 1568), and prostate (n = 1170) cancer survivors, and for those without a cancer history (n = 109,423). They stratified the data by cancer site and age (non-elderly: 18-64 years vs elderly: 65+ years), and controlled for age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, number of comorbidities, and geographic region.