Posted by: coastcontact | October 19, 2014

Cancer Research, Cures, and Making Money

AbigailNabbyAdams Smith (July 14, 1765 – August 15, 1813) was the firstborn of Abigail and John Adams, founding father and second President of the United States.

In 1810, Nabby was diagnosed with breast cancer, followed by a mastectomy in 1811. … The cancer continued to spread throughout her body, and she died, aged 48. That was 200 years ago.

ABCNews.com says that $415 Million is spent annually by Medicare for the treatment of breast cancer.

Total average Medicare spending per patient for initial phase care of breast cancer (2 months prediagnosis–365 days postdiagnosis) was $21,000 (2002 US$) in 2002 (Figure 2).4 Surgery and radiation cost little on a per-patient basis: $5700 and $4500 (2002 US$), respectively, and were used in 91% and 51% of patients, respectively. In contrast, chemotherapy and other inpatient services were used in about 25% of patients, but at a higher per patient cost ($12,800 [2002 US$]). If the data used for this analysis were expanded to include continuing care and end-of-life care, there would be a marked difference in spending patterns. The United States spent an estimated $62,900 to $94,300 per person for end-of-life breast cancer care during 2010 – See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/publications/evidence-based-oncology/2012/2012-2-vol18-n1/the-economics-of-cancer-care-in-the-united-states-how-much-do-we-spend-and-how-can-we-spend-it-better#sthash.BSrLsaip.dpuf.

So millions of dollars are spent treating people with this horrible disease. Billions more are spent on research for a cure. The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) budget for FY 2013 was approximately $4.8 billion. Overall, NCI’s budget has been relatively flat in recent years. During the period from 2005 through 2013, the NCI budget averaged $4.9 billion per year.

Lots of people making lots of money.   

How dare I suggest this thought? Isn’t cancer cures and cancer research an industry that makes large amounts of money? Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs.

 

If you had a cure for just one of those cancers, breast cancer, how many people would need to find another job?  How many companies would be earning less money?

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