The results of a study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and RTI International predict that cancer patients in all 50 states within the U.S., as well as Washington D.C., will see huge increases in the cost of cancer care within their respective state before the decade is out. It's an alarming fact, says the medical community, that will have patients scrambling to figure out how to pay for care that's not covered by insurance.
The study, published in The American Journal of Managed Care, outlines state-by-state projected costs for cancer care up to the year 2020. The state that showed the highest potential increase was Arizona, at 115 percent, with the lowest being the District of Columbia, with an increase of about 34 percent. The high number in Arizona reflects the fact that it has become one of the most popular states for retirees, trumping Florida, hence an increase in population over age 65, the demographic most likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Statistics from the study also outlined projected cancer care costs for each state. The states with the highest projected costs were California ($28.3 billion), Florida ($24.9 billion), Texas ($19.6 billion) and New York ($17.4 billion). Washington, D.C. had the lowest cost ($347 million), followed by Alaska ($508 million) and Wyoming ($539 million).
The researchers hope the study will help the states – and the country as well – make intelligent decisions about allocating resources for cancer research and for cancer prevention programs.
"Effective prevention and early detection strategies are needed to limit the growing burden of cancer," said Justin Trogdon, Ph.D., a health economist at RTI and lead author of the study. He and others in the medical community recognize the growing cost of cancer treatment and the burden it puts on victims, especially the underinsured or uninsured.
Victims of occupational cancers, like asbestos-caused mesothelioma, are often hit especially hard and may have difficulty gaining compensation from those responsible for their asbestos exposure. Hence, the financial burden becomes theirs and it can be extremely overwhelming. That's why many turn to the legal system to help them gain compensation to cover treatment costs, loss of income, and other expenses associated with a cancer diagnosis.