Study: Cancer Patients' Higher Survival in U.S. vs. Europe "Worth" the Extra Costs

While the United States spent more on cancer care than some European countries, U.S. patients' higher survival rate generated $589 billion in additional value for U.S. patients diagnosed with cancer from 1983 to 1999, according to a study in Health Affairs.

Researchers studied the cost and outcomes of 13 types of cancer in the United States and 10 European countries. The researchers calculated the social value of additional years of survival — based on findings from previous studies — compared with additional costs. If the value of increased survival outweighed the costs, cancer care was deemed to be "worth" higher costs.

Cancer patients diagnosed from 1995 to 1999 had an adjusted average survival of 11.1 years from diagnosis in the United States and 9.3 years in the European countries. The United States also had increased survival rates compared to the European countries' rates for most cancer types from 1983 to 1999.

The United States spent $158 billion more on cancer care than did the European countries from 1983 to 1999. Despite the higher costs, the United States' higher survival rate compared to the European countries' rates created a value of $598 billion for U.S. cancer patients in that time period. The value of additional survival in the United States was highest for prostate cancer patients and breast cancer patients, with values of $627 billion and $173 billion, respectively.

In 1983 to 1999, the European countries had higher survival in two cancers: colorectal cancer (0.6 years) and uterine cancer (1.3 years), generating values of $46 billion and $67 billion, respectively.

More Articles on Cancer Costs:

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Expert Panel Says Cancer Policy Needs "Radical Shift" to Provide Affordable Care

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