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This model shows that if we had all gotten recommended cancer screenings, we would’ve saved trillions. Let’s reverse the trend.


Surgical Mask with bank notes

Cancer screenings save lives and money. Period.

An aggregate study released this month found that full adherence to USPSTF screening guidelines in the U.S. would have saved a total of 15.5–21.3 million life-years and 8.2-11.3 trillion dollars. The study accounts for four common cancer screenings: breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung.

The mathematical model sets a “perfect adherence” number at 417 million screenings. That is to say if everyone were up to USPSTF guidelines since they were each first established (dating back to 1996), we would’ve completed a total of 417 million screenings.

The good news: Most of the U.S. population adhered to these USPSTF guidelines. The study estimates a 75% adherence rate. However, if we were able to push the final quarter over the finish line, we would’ve saved an additional 3.2–5.1 million life-years and 1.7-2.7 trillion dollars. 

Some context to “1.7 trillion dollars”—last year the U.S. Government spent about 1.683 trillion dollars on social security and healthcare combined. 

For employers, unions, and governments, cancer prevention and early detection is the key to reducing ever-expanding healthcare spend. By taking a comprehensive, tiered approach to prevention and boosting adherence to screenings, we can push back budget creep and save millions of lives.