Medical costs and productivity losses of cancer survivors--United States, 2008-2011

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Jun 13;63(23):505-10.


The number of persons in the United States with a history of cancer has increased from 3 million in 1971 to approximately 13.4 million in 2012, representing 4.6% of the population. Given the advances in early detection and treatment of cancer and the aging of the U.S. population, the number of cancer survivors is projected to increase by >30% during the next decade, to approximately 18 million. Cancer survivors face many challenges with medical care follow-up, managing the long-term and late effects of treatments, monitoring for recurrence, and an increased risk for additional cancers. These survivors also face economic challenges, including limitations in work and daily activities, obtaining health insurance coverage and accessing health care, and increasing medical care costs. To estimate annual medical costs and productivity losses among male and female cancer survivors and persons without a cancer history, CDC, along with other organizations, analyzed data from the 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The results indicate that the economic burden of cancer survivorship is substantial among all survivors. For male cancer survivors, during 2008-2011, average annual medical costs and productivity losses resulting from health problems per person and adjusted to 2011 dollars were significantly higher among cancer survivors than among persons without a cancer history, by $4,187 and $1,459, respectively; for females, the estimated annual costs per person were $3,293 and $1,330 higher among cancer survivors than among persons without a cancer history, respectively. These findings suggest the need to develop and evaluate health and employment intervention programs aimed at improving outcomes for cancer survivors and their families.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / economics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Survivors* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Young Adult