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Cancer deaths in the U.S. cost $94B in lost earnings in 2015

Deaths from cancer among people between age 16 and 84 cost America nearly 9 million years of life and more than $94 billion in lost earnings in 2015.

By Tauren Dyson
Cancer deaths in the U.S. cost $94B in lost earnings in 2015
Deaths from cancer in people age 16 to 84 cost America nearly 9 million years of life and more than $94 billion in lost earnings in 2015. File Photo by FotograFFF/Shutterstock

July 3 (UPI) -- Cancer continues to take a high financial burden and drastic personal toll on the United States, a new study says.

Deaths from cancer among people between age 16 and 84 cost the U.S. nearly 9 million years of life and more than $94 billion in lost earnings in 2015, according to research published Wednesday in JAMA Oncology. In all, the 492,146 cancer deaths that year averaged out to $191,900 in lost earnings for each death.

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"Years of life lost and lost earnings were high for many cancers for which there are modifiable risk factors and effective screening and treatment, which suggests that a substantial proportion of our current national mortality burden is potentially avoidable," Farhad Islami, a researcher at the American Cancer Society and study author, said in a news release.

Lung cancer deaths cost the most, with a total loss of $21.3 billion, representing 22.5 percent of all cancer deaths. The costs of colorectal cancer deaths came in second at $9.4 billion, which accounted for 10 percent of cancer deaths. That was followed by pancreatic cancer deaths at $6.1 billion, responsible for 6.5 percent of cancer deaths.

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According to the ACS, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.

"Applying comprehensive cancer prevention interventions and ensuring equitable access to high-quality care across all states could reduce the burden of cancer and associated geographic and other differences in the country. Health care professionals can contribute to achieving this goal because they play a central role in the delivery of cancer prevention, screening, and treatment," Islami said.

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