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Cost of Cancer Care May Increase 39 Percent by 2020

Increases in cancer costs largest for prostate cancer and breast cancer patients

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Estimates and projections of the medical cost of cancer care in the United States through 2020 indicate that this cost may increase by at least 27 percent and potentially up to 39 percent, according to research published online Jan. 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Angela B. Mariotto, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data on cancer incidence, survival, and the associated Medicare expenditure for 13 cancers in men and 16 in women. By combining prevalence and cancer costs according to the phase of care, they projected what cancer care may cost in 2020.

The investigators estimated that if incidence, survival, and cost of care remain constant, there will be 13.8 million cancer survivors in 2010, and 18.1 million in 2020, with associated costs of $124.57 and $157.77 billion. This increase of 27 percent is based on projected U.S. population changes. The largest increases in cost were related to care for prostate cancer patients (42 percent) and female breast cancer patients (32 percent). If the cost of cancer care in the initial and final phases increases by 2 percent each year, then the associated costs in 2020 will increase by 39 percent compared to those in 2010.

"The estimates and projections reported in this article may be particularly useful to policy makers for understanding the future burdens of cancer care and for prioritizing future resources on cancer research, treatment, and prevention," the authors write.

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