Delivering Affordable Cancer Care in the 21st Century - Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

Spending on health care currently accounts for 18 percent of the United States’ GDP. By 2037, that percentage is expected to increase to 25 percent of GDP. This growth in health care spending is unsustainable, jeopardizes international economic competitiveness, and negatively impacts many national priorities, including investments in research, education, and infrastructure. Individuals are also burdened by rising healthcare costs, both in terms of medical expenses and stagnant wages. Despite these high expenditures for health care, health outcomes in the U.S. are not considerably better than other high-income countries.

Spending on cancer care in the U.S. is expected to increase because of the rapid influx of new cancer diagnoses as the population ages. In addition, as more expensive therapies and technologies become the standard of care, there are concerns that the costs of cancer treatment could begin to outpace health care inflation as a whole.

On October 8-9, 2012, the IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop to examine the drivers of current and projected cancer care costs, as well as potential ways to curb these costs while maintaining or improving the quality of care. This document summarizes the workshop.