Cancer costs billions yearly in U.S. worker productivity, study finds

December 17, 2012
Cancer costs billions yearly in U.S. worker productivity: study
Researchers call for supportive care programs to lessen disability.

(HealthDay)—The cost of lost productivity among U.S. workers with cancer is equal to 20 percent of the nation's health care spending, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed national data from 2004 to 2008 and found that more than 3.3 million American workers are diagnosed with cancer each year. This results in more than 33 million disability days per year, translating to $7.5 billion in lost productivity.

Based on the average wages of workers included in the study, disability costs due to cancer were equal to 20 percent of total , according to the study, which was published in the December issue of the .

Certain cancers, such as melanoma skin cancer and women's cancers, were associated with higher costs. For example, and hospitalizations were twice as high and disability days 55 percent higher for workers with , compared to those with other cancers, according to a journal news release.

Nearly 85 percent of the workers with cancer were at companies with fewer than 500 employees. The workers at these companies also had higher rates of other health problems—such as high blood pressure, depression and —and were more likely to be uninsured than those at larger companies.

The true cost of lost productivity due to cancer is likely even higher than the disability days examined in this study, according to lead researcher Grant Skrepnek, of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, in Tucson, and colleagues.

They said more needs to be done to reduce the impact that cancer and its treatment has on productivity, such as supportive care programs to reduce cancer-related disability.

Explore further: Chronic pain may cost U.S. $635 billion a year

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about the costs of cancer.

Related Stories

Chronic pain may cost U.S. $635 billion a year

September 14, 2012
(HealthDay)—Americans spend as much as $635 billion each year on the direct and indirect costs associated with chronic pain, according to a new study.

Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers

May 25, 2012
UC Davis researchers have found that workers' compensation insurance is not used nearly as much as it should be to cover the nation's multi-billion dollar price tag for workplace illnesses and injuries. Instead, almost 80 ...

Young cancer survivors often forgo medical care due to costs

September 24, 2012
Many survivors of adolescent and young adult cancers avoid routine medical care because it's too expensive, despite the fact that most have health insurance. That is the conclusion of a new study published early online in ...

Obese workers' health care costs top those of smokers

April 13, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Obese workers have even higher health costs than smokers, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.