Cancer patients going bust to pay for treatment

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The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 303 No 11, Mar 17 2010) is devoted to a single theme: Cancer.

Among the many articles is "Cancer's Next Frontier: Addressing High and Increasing Costs" by Elena Elkin PhD and Peter Bach MD. The authors note the startling rise in cancer expenditures over the last two decades, which went from around $27 billion in 1990 up to $90 billion in 2008, while median out-of-pocket medical spending for cancer patients was $1500 in 2003-2004 (a shocking ten percent reported out-of-pocket expenses exceeding $18,000).

Many patients report "using most or all of their savings during treatment", resulting in significant financial hardships for cancer patients.

By Ross Bonander

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