Economic Impact of Chronic Conditions on Cancer Survivors


Key Points

  • The prevalence of chronic health conditions is higher in cancer survivors than in people with no history of cancer.
  • Annual medical expenditures are higher in cancer survivors with chronic conditions vs those without.

There is a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions among cancer survivors vs people without a history of cancer, and the presence of chronic conditions is associated with greater annual medical expenditures compared with the absence of such conditions in cancer survivors. These findings were reported by Guy et al in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study Details

The study used data from the 2008 to 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate the prevalence of chronic conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, emphysema, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma) and multiple chronic conditions and the incremental annual health-care use, medical expenditures, and lost productivity for survivors of cancer attributed to the presence of chronic conditions.

Prevalence and Economic Impact

In an analysis adjusting for survey year, age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, and education, cancer survivors were more likely than people without a history of cancer to have each chronic condition; the most common conditions in both groups were high blood pressure (35.7% vs 32.7%), high cholesterol (35.0% vs 30.5%), and arthritis (29.4% vs 24.9%). Four or more conditions were present in 12.7% vs 9.5%, respectively.

Compared with the absence of chronic conditions among survivors of cancer, their presence was associated with a higher annual medical expenditure per survivor, particularly for heart disease (additional $4,595) and stroke (additional $3,843); the presence of at least four conditions was associated with an increased annual expenditure of $10,280. Annual lost productivity was higher among survivors with chronic conditions, particularly stroke ($4,325) and arthritis ($3,534), with the presence of at least four conditions being associated with an increase in lost productivity of $9,099. The economic impact of the presence of chronic conditions on cancer survivors was similar to that among people without a history of cancer.

The investigators concluded: “These results highlight the importance of ensuring access to lifelong personalized screening, surveillance, and chronic disease management to help manage chronic conditions, reduce disruptions in employment, and reduce medical expenditures among survivors of cancer.”

Gery P. Guy, Jr, PhD, MPH, of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the corresponding author of the Journal of Clinical Oncology article. 

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.