In the United States, adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer face high economic and human costs throughout their lifetime, according to a report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Based on 2019 estimates, the current and future cost of cancer in AYAs is $23.5 billion, which corresponds to $259,324 per person over a lifetime.

Health system costs account for 13.7% ($3.2 billion) of the total costs. Just under half of these costs (44.9%) are hospital costs, 38.1% are out-of-hospital costs, 12% are for prescription drugs, and 4.9% are related to fertility preservation.

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Loss of productivity among AYAs with cancer results in a lifetime cost of $18.03 billion. Most of this — $10.8 billion — is due to premature death, $2.5 billion is due to reduced workforce participation, and $1.6 billion is due to absenteeism and presenteeism. 

The total cost associated with loss of well-being is $96 billion. Loss of well-being was calculated as the sum of years of life lost because of premature death and years of health lost because of disability. 

“The economic and human costs of cancer in AYAs are substantial, with the majority of costs borne by AYA cancer survivors in the United States themselves in the form of lost productivity, loss of well-being, and loss of life,” the report authors wrote. “AYAs will directly benefit from continued research on effective treatments, prevention strategies, and comprehensive insurance coverage options to ensure that adequate surveillance and health maintenance are affordable.”

The estimates in this report were generated using data from the US Cancer Statistics Public Use Database, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, the published literature, and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Parsons SK, Keegan THM, Kirchhoff AC, Parsons HM, Yabroff KR, Davies SJ. Cost of cancer in adolescents and young adults in the United States: Results of the 2021 report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by Teen Cancer America. J Clin Oncol. Published online February 24, 2023. doi:10.1200/JCO.22.01985