The High Cost of Treating Cancer

Cancer costs more per patient than any other medical malady. The cost of treating cancer in the United States in 2010 rose to $125 billion, up from $95.5 billion nine years earlier.

The financial implications of treating cancer can be devastating. In a 2010 American Cancer Society study, 27 percent of people under 65 undergoing cancer therapy said that they had used up most of their savings.

A 2013 study in The Oncologist by S. Yousuf Zafar, M.D., and his colleagues at the Duke Medical Center noted that:

• 75 percent of the 254 participants had applied for drug copayment assistance for their cancer treatment.

• 68 percent cut back on leisure activities.

• 46 percent reduced spending on food and clothing.

• 46 percent used savings to defray out-of-pocket expenses.

• 42 percent reported a significant or catastrophic subjective financial burden.

• 24 percent avoided filling prescriptions altogether.

• 20 percent took less than the prescribed amount of medication to save money.

• 19 percent partially filled their prescriptions.