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America spends twice as much on cancer care—and has the same level of deaths

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Cancer care isn’t working in America.  Although the US spends twice the amount on treating the disease as other wealthy nations, the rate of people dying from cancer is the same as everywhere else.

The US spends around $200 bn every year on treating cancer, equivalent to $600 per person, which is double that of 22 other wealthy countries.  Six countries—Australia, Finland, Iceland, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland—all spend far less than the US and have better cancer mortality rates, researchers at Yale University have discovered.

The US also has low rates of smoking, which should have a positive impact on cancer rates, and so the effectiveness of its cancer care system looks even more dismal when compared with nations that have a higher ratio of smokers.

The figures belie the common perception that the US has the world’s most advanced—and effective—cancer care system, said researcher Ryan Chow.

The US is poorly served by a lax regulation of cancer drug approvals and a system of drug pricing, which allows drug companies to charge inflated sums for chemotherapy drugs, the researchers add.

(Source: JAMA Health Forum, 2022; 3: e221229)

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Article Topics: Cancer, chemotherapy, disease, oncology
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