Part 2 of the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that cancer patients in the United States shoulder a large amount of cancer care costs. In 2019, the national patient economic burden associated with cancer care was $21.09 billion, made up of patient out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion. Patient time costs reflect the value of time that patients spend traveling to and from health care, waiting for care, and receiving care, according to the report.
The report, appearing October 26, 2021, in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the most comprehensive examination of patient economic burden for cancer care to date and includes information on patient out-of-pocket spending by cancer site, stage of disease at diagnosis, and phase of care. While this analysis is about the costs that are directly incurred by patients, which are critical to patient finances, the total overall costs of cancer care and lost productivity in the United States are much larger.