Time Spent Is a Significant Burden on Cancer Patients
Calculating the burden of cancer is not simple, especially when it comes to nonmedical costs such as patient time lost to cancer care. A study from the January 3 Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) estimated that in 2005 the value of patient time lost to cancer care was nearly $2.3 billion in the first year following diagnosis alone. This estimate was based on just over 1 million newly diagnosed cancer patients in 2005, millions of hours traveling to and from, waiting for, and receiving treatment, and a median wage rate of $15.23 per hour.
"To our knowledge, this study is the first to estimate net patient time costs over the full course of cancer care, for 11 of the most common cancer sites," said the study's lead author, Dr. Robin Yabroff, an epidemiologist in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). She and her colleagues used a phase-of-care approach, which distinguishes three clinically relevant phases of care: the initial year after diagnosis, the last year of life, and the continuing or monitoring phase, which includes the time between the initial year and last year of life. Read more
Guest Update by Dr. Brenda K. Edwards
SEER: Research Power in Numbers
NCI's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program is a powerful cancer research tool that has served as the basis for thousands of studies. Innovative use of SEER data has produced additional statistics such as cancer prevalence, which is important to national estimates of cancer survivorship.
Although many people equate SEER with the Annual Report to the Nation, the main reason for its popularity is rooted in the fact that SEER is the most comprehensive, population-based cancer registry in the world. It currently covers 26 percent of the U.S. population, and captures information on patient demographics, primary tumor site and morphology, stage at diagnosis, first course of treatment, and survival. Read more