An analysis of 2 million Medicare beneficiaries establishes the cost of cancer by stage and time since diagnosis for 17 common cancers. The later the stage at diagnosis, the higher the cost, and this cost difference lasts for at least five years after diagnosis. Earlier diagnosis and treatment of cancer saves not just lives, but also a significant amount of money.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Cancer is the second leading cause of death and cancer care costs $1 trillion annually.
PHAR, a leading health services research consultancy, and GRAIL, a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured, conducted an analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry and linked Medicare data. Using these linked data sources, researchers systematically estimated the annual cost of care for 17 invasive cancers. The analysis was published in Current Medical Research and Opinion in April 2022. The study establishes a single resource for healthcare professionals, researchers, and payers in addition to providing a starting point to measure the benefit of early cancer detection.
Dr. Michael S. Broder, MD, MSHS, President of PHAR, notes, “Now, any agency or organization hoping to reduce the cost of cancer knows what the current cost is. That’s never been analyzed and presented in this way before.”
He continues, “The study establishes that later diagnosis means higher costs for years to come.” Diagnosis at a later stage is up to seven times more expensive than diagnosis at an earlier stage, and that cost remains higher for at least five years after diagnosis.
The study was conducted in collaboration with GRAIL, Inc., developer of the Galleri test, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze DNA data from a blood draw to detect more than 50 types of cancers. This technology can reduce cancer burden worldwide and improve patient outcomes; PHAR’s in-depth cost analysis allows for the scientific community to measure by how much.