Why Are Cancer Costs Rising?

Expensive cancer treatments are increasingly blamed for runaway health-care costs in the U.S., but a new study finds a different primary explanation for rising cancer treatment costs: more cancer patients. (As noted in SuperFreakonomics, more people are failing to die from heart disease and therefore live long enough to get cancer.) The study also found that “cancer accounts for only 5 percent of total U.S. medical costs, and that has not changed in the last few decades.” The study, however, doesn’t cover the period since 2005.[%comments]


I'm all for cancer costs going up (if they ever do go beyond the 5% mentioned). The more money that is in the market, the more companies will try to find effective treatments and cures.


If we live long enough, all of us will eventually get cancer. That's just the way the body works when our cells regenerate. More cancer patients, while a heartbreak for those involved, is a good sign that other terminal diseases are probably in decline.

Mike B

The most effective way to reduce healthcare costs is to bring back smoking.


You mean the fact that companies charge what the market will bear (which in many cases is upwards of $50K per year) has nothing to do with the rising cost of cancer treatment? Pull the other one.

Casey Roberson

If the cancer cases are increasing and causing the treatment demand to increase, the price would increase. At first, I would believe there would be firms to entry to help drive the cost down but with the barrier to enter the costs are able to stay a high rate.