Reshaping Oncology Care Delivery and Payments - Episode 1

US Cancer-Related Healthcare Costs on the Rise

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Cancer treatment is one of the fastest growing categories of healthcare expenditure in the United States, says Andrew L. Pecora, MD, FACP, CPE. Individuals with cancer are surviving longer, owing to effective medications and technologies, notes Pecora, but a huge expense is associated with this advanced care.

Historically, cardiovascular and infectious diseases accounted for higher mortality rates in the general population than cancer. However, now it has become rare for a young person to die from a heart attack. Improvements like this contribute to increased longevity and, unfortunately, the longer people live, the more likely they are to develop a cancer, Pecora explains.

The costs of cancer are not simply economic, but also personal, Pecora comments, adding that the burden of direct and indirect costs is greater in patients of lower socioeconomic status. To minimize these costs, Pecora explains, cancer prevention may be an effective strategy.