Cost of treating cancer doubled over two decades
We hear a lot about pricey new cancer drugs driving up the cost of treating the disease, but a new study suggests meds aren't the sole reason for soaring treatment costs.
The research, published today in the journal Cancer, finds the cost of treating cancer doubled over the last two decades with more people getting treated for the disease helping to drive that cost.
The total cost of treating cancer in the U.S. in 1987 was $24.7 billion (in 2007 dollars), compared with $48.1 billion a year during 2001-2005, according to the research compiled by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But that cost kept in line with the rapid rise in health care spending. Cancer treatment as a percentage of overall medical treatment has stayed steady at about 5 percent for the past two decades.In addition, as treatment shifts from inpatient to outpatient care, commercial insurers and Medicaid are picking up a greater share of the tab, the study finds.
That's not to discount the exorbitant cost of new cancer drugs. Consider this story from the NYT about prohibitively expensive cancer treatments that leads with a new chemo medication that costs $30,000. You read that right -- 30K.
And heard of Provenge? The prostate cancer vaccine that recently won FDA approval? That's expected to cost a mere $93,000.