A prior trend of rapid growth in cancer prevalence and expenditures has slowed since 2007, and out-of-pocket expenses for cancer treatment are continuing to decline, according to a study published in Cancer.1

James Lee, MS, and fellow researchers at the Altarum Institute in Ann Arbor, MI, examined trends in spending on cancer from 1998 to 2012, including cancer care costs, prevalence, and cases by payer through the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey as well as results from the National Nursing Home Survey and other data sources. They were examined in the context of a prior analysis and recent health policy and programmatic changes.

They found that cancer care expenditures grew at an annual rate of 2.9% from 1998 to 2012. However, the share of expenditures for hospital-based care declined to a low of 48% from 2007 to 2009.

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In addition, professional and clinical services’ shares declined substantially from 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012 when hospital share increased.

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Treated prevalence was found to decrease for all payers between the first and last study periods with the exception of private payers who increased by 11.2%. Out-of-pocket expenditures declined to 4.7% while Medicare’s share increased slightly.

“The early effects of the Affordable Care Act expansion can be observed in the decline of treated prevalence in the Medicaid population as the demographics of Medicaid enrollees changes,” the authors concluded.


  1. Lee JA, Roehrig CS, Butto ED. Cancer care cost trends in the United States: 1998 to 2012 [published online ahead of print January 15, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29883.