Cancer is costly. In fact, according to US News, a new study reveals "the cost of lost productivity among U.S. workers with cancer is equal to 20 percent of the nation's health care spending."
Researchers analyzed data from across the country during 2004 and 2008 and found the following:
- Over 3 million American workers are diagnosed with cancer yearly.
- Diagnosed workers take 33 million days of disability costing $7.5 billion dollars in lost productivity.
- Certain cancers are more costly than others. Specifically, breast and melanoma.
- Nearly 85 percent of workers with cancer were at companies with fewer than 500 employees. These workers also had higher rates of other comorbidities, such as high blood pressure, depression, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They were also more likely to be uninsured.
- Based on the average wages of workers included in the study, disability costs due to cancer were equal to 20 percent of total healthcare spending.
All cancers do not cost equally
According to the National Cancer Institute, the five costliest cancers (in billions of dollars) are:
- Breast (female) = $16.5
- Colorectal = $14.14
- Lung = $12.12
- Lymphoma = 12.14
- Prostate = $11.85
The NCI estimates cancer could cost $207 billion dollars annually by 2020.
The researchers suggest that in order to reduce the impact treating cancer has on worker productivity, supportive care programs must be created and/or increased to handle cancer-related disability.
What do you think? Can supportive care programs reduce costs and get Americans diagnosed with cancer back to work more quickly?