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Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

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  • Updated: 02/18/2011

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The Cost of Cancer

The financial costs of cancer care are a burden to people diagnosed with cancer, their families, and society as a whole. National cancer care expenditures have been steadily increasing in the United States. Costs also are likely to increase as new, more advanced treatments are adopted as standards of care.  These newer, more expensive, targeted therapies attack specific cancer cells and often have fewer side effects than other types of cancer treatments.

 Table 1: National Costs for Cancer Care in 2010 in Billions of Dollars by Cancer Site*
Cancer SiteDirect Costs
(in billions of dollars)
All Sites$124.57
Breast (female)$16.50
Colorectal$14.14
Lung$12.12
Lymphoma$12.14
Prostate$11.85
Leukemia$5.44
Ovary$5.12
Brain$4.47
Bladder$3.98
Head and Neck$3.64
Kidney$3.80
Uterus$2.62
Melanoma$2.36
Pancreas$2.27
Stomach$1.82
Cervix$1.55
Esophagus$1.33
*More information at http://costprojections.cancer.gov/

Costs in the Future

The cost of cancer in the year 2020 is projected to reach at least $158 billion (in 2010 dollars). Assuming a 2 percent annual increase in medical costs in the initial and final phases of care, the projected 2020 costs increase to $173 billion. Estimating a 5 percent annual increase in these costs raises the projection to $207 billion. These figures do not include other types of costs, such as lost productivity, which add to the overall financial burden of cancer.

This information was released in a new study on January 12, 2011.  More information about these cost projections is available at: http://costprojections.cancer.gov.