Cancer Survivors in the United States Face Economic Burden
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their June 12, 2014 Issue, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, US cancer survivors suffer from significant economic burdens due to increasing medical costs, missed work, and reduced productivity.
As said by Donatus U, Ekwueme, PhD, a senior health economist at CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, “Cancer survivors face physical, emotional, psychosocial, employment and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment”. Due to the developing technologies, it is more likely that in the upcoming decades, more cancer patients will be treated and survivors are more likely to experience the same. Medical and public health professionals should be diligent in their efforts of helping the cancer patients reduce the burden of cancer as well as to their families.
Researchers analyzed the data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate annual medical costs and productivity losses among male and female cancer survivors, aged 18 years and older, and among persons without cancer diagnosis.
It was found out that loss of productivity among cancer patients or survivors were due to employment disability or being unable to work because of illness or injury as well as health-related missed work days, and days spent in bed due to ill health.
Study findings also indicate:
- Cancer survivors were more likely to be female, non-Hispanic white, have multiple chronic conditions, or to be in fair or poor health.
- Employment disability accounted for about 75 percent of lost productivity among cancer survivors.
- Among survivors who were employed at the time of their diagnosis, cancer and its treatment interfered with physical tasks (25 percent) and mental tasks required by the job (14 percent); almost 25 percent of cancer survivors felt less productive at work.
The authors suggest that intervention programs on comprehensive health and employment may be needed to improve outcomes for cancer survivors and their families.