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Medicare costs soar for cancer care

HealthDay/Washington Post, April 30, 2008

Treating elderly cancer patients for five years costs Medicare $21.1 billion, according to a study by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. These costs are expected to increase dramatically as the population ages, say the study's authors. Costs varied over five years from about $20,000 for people with breast cancer or melanoma to $40,000 for people with lymphoma, brain or other cancers of the nervous system. To contain costs, the authors suggested that more emphasis be placed on cancer screening and early diagnosis, as well as lifestyle changes.