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CANCER: $158 billion cost of cancer care in 2020

Cancer treatment is expensive.  The National Cancer Institute estimates that cancer care costs will increase from $125 billion in 2010 to $158 billion in 2020.  This is partly due to the aging of the population, to better control of other serious diseases, and to the development of new chemotherapy and other treatment options.  Among the reasons that the trend toward costly chemotherapy is expected to continue to escalate is that oncology drugs are being used in combination.  There is one newly approved combined treatment for advanced melanoma that is expected to cost the patient $250,000 or so in the first year.  Yes, you read it right – a quarter of a million dollars.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has published a framework that can be used to assess how valuable a cancer treatment might be.  The framework is intended to be used by the patient and the physician together in partnership to help establish the cost-benefit of different options.


Schnipper, L.E., and others. (2015). American Society of Clinical Oncology statement: A conceptual framework to assess the value of cancer treatment options. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Click here : http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/06/16/JCO.2015.61.6706.full.pdf

Gittlen, S. (2016, Jan.-Feb.). Cancer: Aligning costs and care. HealthLeaders, 19(1), 47-50. Click here for the magazine http://www.healthleadersmagazine-digital.com/healthleadersmagazine/january_february_2016?pg=1#pg1  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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