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Breast cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancer cost claims paid by employers


Anonymous woman wearer in white shirt with pink ribbon as symbol of Awareness and fight against breast cancer keeps hand on chest. Breast Cancer Awareness Day concept.

We’ve written it before and we’ll write it again: cancer is the number one driver of all healthcare costs for employers. For most HR benefits leaders, that is well-understood.

What might be news to them, however, is this: Of all those cancer claims, the primary cost comes from active treatment and management of breast cancer.

In a recent survey of over 4,300 employees, Springbuk determined that nearly 50% of claimants are fighting breast cancer. The claims issued for their treatment account for almost 30% of all that employers pay for management of any cancer. 

While many employers know the extent to which cancer eats away at their healthcare budget, not all know the data per specific disease or preventive measure. Knowing which cancers are causing the workforce the most turmoil—medically and financially—can help HR benefits professionals make better decisions about where to invest their budget.

In terms of breast cancer, the rising costs are most likely due to two specific criteria:

  1. Prevalence — According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Incidences have risen 0.5% in recent years, with notable increases in people under age 40.
  1. Long survival and treatment cycles — Those diagnosed with breast cancer can spend many years living with the diagnosis and related treatment; relative survival rates for all types of breast cancer are, on average, 90%.

Given this, what are some ways employers do to help their workforce contend with breast cancer? The most effective strategy for alleviating the burdens of cancer is to detect it early before it becomes more costly and deadly. At Color, we recommend employers…

  1. Enable access and adherence to comprehensive cancer detection and screening programs. In order to detect a breast cancer recurrence early, employers can make early detection easy to manage.
  1. Provide access to genetic testing and genetic counseling—especially for those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing can be immensely useful for families of those diagnosed.
  1. Support the overall well-being of individuals who are living with breast cancer. Employers can consider enhancing benefit packages with programs that prioritize care advocacy, surveillance support, and mental health resources.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can make critical steps toward lessening the impact of breast cancer in your organization. To learn more about Color’s Cancer Prevention & Screening Program, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, visit