OBR Daily Commentary


Cancer Care Costs in the United States Are Projected to Exceed $245 Billion by 2030

(AACR) June 10, 2020 - The national cancer-attributable costs in the United States are projected to increase by over 30 percent from 2015 to 2030, corresponding to a total cost of over $245 billion, according to a new study. “Rising health care expenditures are a burden for patients, and costs of cancer care has become a critical topic in patient-provider discussions to facilitate informed decision-making,” said study author Angela Mariotto, PhD, chief of the Data Analytics Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland.

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William McGivney, PhD (Posted: June 11, 2020)


This comment relates to the article described by Mariotto et al that projects that
“Based solely on population changes due to aging and growth, the researchers estimate that the national costs for cancer-related medical care and oral prescription drugs in 2030 will be $221 billion and $25 billion, respectively, totaling nearly $246 billion. This represents a total increase in national cost of 34 percent.”
Quite frankly, a 34% increase in terms of increase over a 15-year period seemed somewhat tame. It is understood that the projection is based “solely” on population changes.
I found a similar analysis done by the same group and published in 2011 in JNCI. This article by Mariotto et al estimated that for the period 2010 through 2020, with a constant incidence and survival and costs of care, Cancer-attributable medical costs would rise by 27%. Again, the 27% percent increase in the total medical costs “reflects growth and aging in the population only”.
In this 2011 article, a sensitivity analysis was applied to evaluate the impact of advancing technology (e.g., testing, biologics) and projected that with a 5% annual increase in costs of care, Cancer attributable medical costs would increase by 66% from 2010 to 2020. As such, the application of reasonable “costs of cancer care” factor by the authors is necessary to arrive at a more robust estimation of what can be expected in terms of total increase in the national Cancer-attributable medical costs across defined periods of time.



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