Health Policy


Economic Impact of Cancer

Cancer is an extremely costly disease not only in terms of the intensive medical treatments involved, but also the loss of life and its impact on society as a whole. Many cancers can be avoided or the mortality rate can be significantly reduced with the use of preventative screening and early treatment. Preventative services can be expensive in the short term, but they can have significant benefits in the long term if instigated efficiently and effectively.

The first aim of this research is to determine the overall economic impact of cancer to not only the patient suffering from the disease, but from the perspective of society, and from the perspective of the insurer, both public and private. Second, this research aims to determine what resources are required to effectively and efficiently manage the disease as well as determine what would be the most efficient use of the resources currently available to impact the disease. Much of this research is being conducted in collaboration with the Iowa Consortium for Comprehensive Cancer Control (ICCCC). The ICCC is a consortium of over 100 people representing 50 entities including researchers, legislators, insurance companies, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies and many more organizations all with an interest in cancer control.

The following descriptions of studies in this area include developing a budget to comprehensively control cancer in the state of Iowa and determining the barriers to colorectal cancer screening in rural populations.

Comprehensive Cancer Control Budget - Iowa:
Cancer is an extremely costly disease for individuals and society. With the assistance of a grant from C-Change, a budget was developed to determine the economic impact of controlling cancer in the state of Iowa and to help set priority areas for funding.

Cost of Screening and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer for the Uninsured and Underinsured in Iowa:
Despite the number of screening options, CRC screening rates in Iowa are still poor; only 46.8% of Iowans over the age of 50 have had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the past 5 years and only 15.5% have used home blood tests in the past year (CDC, 2007). One suggested reason for these low screening rates is financial barriers. This analysis aims to determine which population groups within Iowa are either under or uninsured in terms of CRC screening and to determine what it would take financially to adequately provide CRC screening and treatment for this population.

Colorectal Cancer Screening in Rural Populations:
There is not sufficient research on the barriers to colorectal cancer screening for rural populations. This research was designed to assess the barriers to colorectal cancer screening experienced by rural health populations including addressing the existence of economic barriers.