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The Cost of Cancer

Cancer treatment spending has risen but remains stable in proportion to total U.S. treatment spending.

The financial costs of cancer treatment are a burden to people diagnosed with cancer, their families, and society as a whole. Cancer treatment accounted for about $72.0 billion in 2004. This is just under 5 percent of total U.S. spending for medical treatment. The additional economic burden of cancer due to morbidity and premature mortality is estimated to be $120.4 billion resulting in a total economic burden of cancer in 2004 of $192.4 billion.

Year Amount ($ in millions) Percent of All Health
Care Expenditures
1963 $1,279 4.35%
1972 3,872 4.96%
1980 13,049 6.01%
1985 18,104 4.81%
1990 27,458 4.46%
1995 41,200 4.69%
2002 60,900 4.57%
2004 72,006 4.67%

Sources: Ries LAG, Eisner MP, Kosary CL, Hankey BF, Miller MA, Clegg L, Mariotto A, Feuer EJ, Edwards BK (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2001, National Cancer Insitute, Bethesda, MD

Brown ML, Riley GF, SchusslerN, Etzioni RD. Estimating health care costs related to cancer treatment from SEER-Medicare data. Medical care 2002 Aug; 40 (8 Suppl):IV-104-17.

NHLBI Fact Book - 2003. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda. Estimates by NHLBI; data from NCHS, HCFA, the Bureau of the Census, and the Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco.

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