Medical Costs Nearly Doubled for Cancer Survivors

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Medical Costs Nearly Doubled for Cancer Survivors
Medical Costs Nearly Doubled for Cancer Survivors

(HealthDay News) -- Male and female cancer survivors incur annual medical costs that are almost two times greater than those of people who haven't had cancer, according to research published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the report, the researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. They estimated annual medical costs and productivity losses among male and female cancer survivors aged 18 years and older. About 10% of cancer survivors aged 65 or younger were uninsured.

RELATED: Cancer Costs Don't Stop When Treatment Ends

Male cancer survivors had annual medical costs of more than $8,000 per person, compared with $3,900 for men without a history of cancer. Female survivors had $8,400 in yearly medical costs, compared with $5,100 for women who never faced cancer. 

Male cancer survivors had annual productivity losses of $3,700, compared with $2,300 for men without a history of cancer. Female survivors had $4,000 in lost productivity each year, compared with $2,700 for women who hadn't had cancer. 

Employment disability accounted for about 75% of lost productivity among cancer survivors. Among those who are employed, an estimated 42% had to make changes to their work hours and duties.

About a quarter of survivors said cancer and its treatment interfered with physical job tasks, and 14% said they had trouble performing mental tasks, the researchers reported. 

"Throughout their lifetime, they will still be going through treatments and checkups and long-term side effects and late effects that can come as a result of survival," study author Donatus Ekwueme, PhD, a senior health economist at the CDC's division of cancer prevention and control, told HealthDay.

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