Cancer Treatment Costs Nearly Double
May 11, 2010
By Michael Smith
Over a period of nearly two decades, the medical costs of cancer care almost doubled in constant dollars, but remained proportional to other medical costs, researchers said. Over the same time — from 1987 to 2005 — cancer costs shifted away from inpatient care, according to Florence Tangka of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues.
Meanwhile, the share of cancer costs picked up by private insurers and Medicaid increased while private, out-of-pocket expenditures declined slightly, they reported online in the journal Cancer.
Much of the increase in cancer care costs has been driven by a growing caseload — fueled in turn by an aging population, rather than a rise in per-case costs — Tangka and colleagues said.
However, the cost of cancer care is a complex calculation, they noted, involving changes in population, incidence rates, prevalence rates, effectiveness of care, and mortality rates.