Colon Cancer Deaths Cost the Economy $6.4 Billion, CDC Says

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According to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer deaths that could have been prevented with screening cost the U.S. economy a whopping $6.4 billion.

Hannah Weir, PhD., senior CDC epidemiologist and the lead author of the study, reiterated the well-known fact that a substantial number of colon cancer deaths could be prevented with routine screening. The study revealed, however, that many of those preventable deaths occur in lower-socioeconomic status communities within the U.S.

Weir and her peers therefore hypothesized that disparities in colon cancer death rates between lower- and higher-income communities are taking a large toll on the national economy, given cancer's tremendous cost burden.

Researchers looked at U.S. mortality and population data from 2008-2012, focusing on the number of colon cancer deaths of Americans aged 50-74 years. They determined that in the lower-income bracket, 194,927 years of potential life were lost due to premature colon cancer deaths, compared with 128,812 years lost in the higher income bracket.

The researchers then put these data in dollar terms. Given the lost wages, salaries and overall economic contribution, preventable cancer deaths resulted in the lost potential for $4.2 billion in productivity gains from men and $2.2 billion from women, coming to a grand total of $6.4 billion lost to preventable cancer deaths.

The research, presented Friday at the American Association For Cancer Research conference in Atlanta, seems to suggest that increasing awareness of and access to colon cancer screening in lower socioeconomic communities would help reduce the colon cancer deaths and associated economic losses.

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Topics: Colon Cancer News