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Cancer in US Will Become Leading Cause of Death by 2030: Report

By Jonna Lorenz   |   Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 05:26 PM

The number of cancer cases in the U.S. is expected to rise by about 45 percent as the nation’s population ages, making it the leading cause of death in the United States by 2030, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The report, The State of Cancer Care in America: 2014, calls on policymakers to make financial commitments to cancer research and care and calls on healthcare workers to be “more nimble and creative” in bringing advances to patients.

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It says that oncology is in a time of “extraordinary change and opportunity” because of technological advances, healthcare policy changes, and demographic shifts.

Among the issues of concern are expected increases in the number of cancer survivors, presently at 13.7 million, along with rising healthcare costs and potential work force shortages.

The number of new cancer cases is expected to rise from 1.6 million to 2.3 million annually by 2030, while the number of survivors is expected to reach 18 million by 2022.

Squeezed by tight margins, small oncology practices are merging, selling, and closing, requiring patients to pay more and travel farther for care, CNN reported. Demand for oncology services is expected to rise by 42 percent by 2030, while the number of oncologists is expected to rise by 28 percent.

The ASCO is pushing for changes to the payment system that determines physicians’ reimbursement rates.

"What you are seeing from Medicare as well as others is they continue to constrain the revenues to practices. At the same time, the number of patients everyone is seeing is going up as the population increases," said Blase Polite, an oncologist at the University of Chicago, according to Reuters. "Combine that with the cost of the care that we're providing ... It's really creating a very difficult financial situation."

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