This Is How Much It Costs to Survive Cancer

This Is How Much It Costs to Survive Cancer
Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013

Cancer survivors pay thousands of dollars in extra medical costs each year, with the price tag varying by a patient’s age and the site of the cancer, according to a new study.

For example, nonelderly survivors of colorectal cancer pay out more than twice as much in costs as survivors of prostate cancer. Meanwhile, breast cancer is more than twice as costly for the nonelderly as it is for seniors.

The study was recently published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research was led by Zhiyuan “Jason” Zheng, a senior researcher at the American Cancer Society.

America’s estimated 14.5 million cancer survivors are known to face a greater financial burden than people without a history of cancer. But up to now, little has been known about whether that burden varies based on where in the body a cancer is located, according to the study.

Zheng says in a press release from the American Cancer Society:

“This study helps us quantify the excess economic burden associated with the three major cancer sites.

Understanding this burden is an important step to shape health care policies to target areas where cancer survivors are most vulnerable.”

The researchers found that cancer survivors’ annual excess medical expenses are as follows:

For the nonelderly (ages 18 to 64)

  • Colorectal cancer: $8,657
  • Breast cancer: $5,119
  • Prostate cancer: $3,586

For the elderly (ages 65 and older)

  • Colorectal: $4,913
  • Breast: $2,288
  • Prostate: $3,524

Cancer survivors’ annual excess productivity losses, compared with those of people without a cancer history, are:

For the nonelderly:

  • Employment disability: 13.6 percent
  • Productivity loss at work: 7.2 days
  • Productivity loss at home: 4.5 days

Elderly survivors of the three types of cancer studied had comparable productivity losses as people without a cancer history.

What’s your take on these findings? Share your thoughts with us below or on our Facebook page.

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