Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 407–419 | Cite as

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement

  • K. Robin Yabroff
  • Emily Dowling
  • Juan Rodriguez
  • Donatus U. Ekwueme
  • Helen Meissner
  • Anita Soni
  • Catherine Lerro
  • Gordon Willis
  • Laura P. Forsythe
  • Laurel Borowski
  • Katherine S. Virgo
Policy Papers



The prevalence of cancer survivorship in the USA is expected to increase in the future because the US population is increasing in size and is aging and because survival following diagnosis is improving for many types of cancer. Medical care costs associated with cancer are also projected to increase dramatically. However, currently available data for estimating medical care costs and other important aspects of the burden of cancer, including time spent receiving medical care, productivity loss due to morbidity for patients and their families, and financial hardship, are limited, particularly in the population under the age of 65.


We describe selected publicly available data sources for estimating the burden of cancer in the USA and a new collaborative effort to improve the quality of these data: the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement.


Data from this effort can be used to address key gaps in cancer survivorship research related to medical care costs, employment patterns, financial hardship, and other aspects of the burden of illness for cancer survivors and their families.

Implications for cancer survivors

Research using the MEPS Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement can inform efforts by health care policy makers, healthcare systems, providers, and employers to improve the cancer survivorship experience in the USA.


Cost of illness Health care expenditures Burden of illness Neoplasms SEER-Medicare NHIS MEPS 



The authors wish to thank Cathy Bradley, Pamela Farley Short, Patricia Ganz, and Michael Feuerstein for comments on an early version of the MEPS Experiences with Cancer questionnaire; Martha Stapleton and Stephanie Beauvais of Westat for their detailed cognitive testing report describing responses in cancer survivors to the MEPS Experiences with Cancer questionnaire; and Stephanie Nutt and Ruth Rechis of LIVESTRONG, Neetu Chawla of the NCI for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, and Timothy McNeel of IMS, Inc for programming assistance with the 2009 MEPS. Funding for the MEPS Experiences with Cancer Supplement was provided by the NCI, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and the ACS and supported by the AHRQ and Westat.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA)  2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Robin Yabroff
    • 1
    • 7
  • Emily Dowling
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan Rodriguez
    • 3
  • Donatus U. Ekwueme
    • 3
  • Helen Meissner
    • 4
  • Anita Soni
    • 5
  • Catherine Lerro
    • 6
  • Gordon Willis
    • 1
  • Laura P. Forsythe
    • 1
  • Laurel Borowski
    • 1
  • Katherine S. Virgo
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Control and Population SciencesNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Technology AssessmentMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health PromotionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences ResearchNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Center for Financing, Access, and Cost TrendsAgency for Healthcare Research and QualityRockvilleUSA
  6. 6.Health Services Research Program, Intramural Research DepartmentAmerican Cancer Society National Home OfficeAtlantaUSA
  7. 7.Health Services and Economics Branch/Applied Research ProgramNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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