Premature cancer deaths among racial minorities cost US economy millions, study shows

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Premature deaths among cancer patients in minority racial groups are linked to millions in lost earnings, according to a new analysis.

The study, published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, compares years of life lost and lost earnings due to premature cancer deaths by race and ethnicity. Researchers gathered national cancer death and life expectancy data from 2015 and combined it with annual median earnings to calculate lost earnings.

They found lost earnings for premature deaths of white cancer patients was $34.9 million per 100,000 people followed during 2015, while lost earnings totaled $43.5 million per 100,000 people for premature deaths among black patients followed in 2015, according to a STAT newsletter.

Lost earnings for premature cancer deaths among Asian or Pacific Islanders and Hispanics were $22.2 million and $24.5 million, respectively, in 2015.

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