State-level projections of cancer-related medical care costs: 2010 to 2020
Healthcare costs continue to rise nationally and impose greater burdens on state budgets.1 Since cancer-related medical care costs constitute a substantial portion of overall US medical care costs,2-4 accurate projections of future cancer-related care costs are critical. Over the past 20 years, the cost of treating cancer has nearly doubled nationally.2,5 As a result of an aging population and more expensive cancer treatments, the national costs of cancer care are expected to increase significantly in the near future.6 Although previous increases in spending on cancer have occurred despite the decreases in cancer incidence rates and increases in average survival times for patients with many types of cancers,7 researchers have noted many opportunities to further improve cancer detection and treatment while controlling costs.8-10
To take advantage of these opportunities, state-administered insurance providers such as Medicaid and public healthcare providers such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program11 need state-level projections of future cancer care costs. Previous projections of cancer prevalence and cancer care costs have focused only on the national level.6 This study produces state-level projections of cancer care costs through 2020. While our goal is not to explain differences across states, our projections do reflect projected changes in the distribution of state residents by age and sex during this period. They provide a useful baseline against which to gauge the impact of current and future cancer policies and could be useful for budget allocations for investments in cancer prevention and early detection.