The Economic Cost of Cancer
July 11, 2019
Cancer prevention, screening, and early treatment may yield a more profound impact on the economy than previously realized. A new study published in JAMA Oncology estimates that individuals between the ages of 16 and 84 who died of cancer in the United States during 2015 account for more than $94 billion in lost earnings.
This new analysis provides a closer look at the financial burden of cancer by further breaking down estimated lost earnings by type of cancer:
• Lung cancer accounted for $21.3 billion
• Colorectal cancer accounted for $9.4 billion
• Female breast cancer accounted for $6.2 billion
• Pancreatic cancer accounted for $6.1 billion
The study also examined lost earnings due to cancer deaths in different states and found considerable state variation in economic burden. These variations suggest that substantial financial benefits could result from improvements in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment to reduce premature cancer mortality.
According to the American Lung Association, Pennsylvania ranks 30th among all states in new lung cancer cases, with only 18.1 percent of cases being caught early when survival is much higher. More than 50 percent of cases are not caught until a later stage when survival is only 4.5 percent.
However, Pennsylvania ranks ninth among 31 states that capture lung cancer survival rates (the percentage of people alive five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer).
The state’s Department of Health encourages Pennsylvanians to be vigilant about regularly seeing a health care provider as cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death in the state. The department stresses that staying up-to-date on cancer screening test can help reduce the risk of cancer, as well as:
• Staying away from tobacco
• Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
• Protecting your skin for the sun
• Getting to and keeping a healthy weight and staying physically active
Pennsylvania hospitals play a crucial role in educating their communities about cancer risks and prevention and providing screening for early detection and treatment. These efforts are key to improving overall population and community health. HAP’s Population Health Dashboard continues to monitor and report on how Pennsylvania communities are doing versus national rates.
For more information about HAP’s support of the hospital community’s population health efforts, contact Rob Shipp, HAP’s vice president, quality and population.