Costs of Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States

Get Permission

In an analysis by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by Teen Cancer America and reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Parsons et al estimated the costs incurred after a cancer diagnosis by adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in the United States.

Study Details 

The objective of the 2021 analysis was to estimate total costs incurred by AYAs with cancer over their life span after diagnosis in 2019. The incidence of cancer in 2019 among AYAs aged 15 to 39 years was estimated from the U.S. Cancer Statistics Public Use Database, and relative survival was derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.

Cost domains assessed included health system, productivity, and well-being costs. Components were estimated using published literature and pooled data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from 2008 to 2012, inflated to 2019 dollars.

Key Findings

The costs of cancer in AYAs were estimated at $23.5 billion overall, corresponding to $259,324 per person over a lifetime. Estimated health-system costs amounted to $3.2 billion, with a per-person cost of $35,575. Estimated total productivity costs amounted to $18.03 billion, with $10.8 billion associated with premature mortality; estimated per-person costs were $199,000.  

The majority of health-system costs were covered by private payers (61%). The majority of total costs (70%) were incurred directly by AYAs with cancer and their families. Estimated costs (nonfinancial) for loss of well-being were $96 billion, at an average cost of $1 million per person.

The investigators concluded, “These findings underscore the need to address the burden of cancer in AYAs through targeted programs for AYAs, such as financial navigation and health insurance literacy interventions, as well as local and national policy initiatives to address access to and enhanced coverage for clinical trials participation, fertility services, and survivorship care.”

Susan K. Parsons, MD, MRP, of the Divisions of Hematology/Oncology and Clinical Care Research, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

Disclosure: Teen Cancer America provided the monetary support for the commissioned report. Partial funding was also provided by the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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®.