FRIDAY, July 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Nonprofit funding by cancer type is not proportionate to the burden of individual cancers, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Suneel D. Kamath, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a nationwide, cross-sectional study to examine the alignment of cancer burden by histology with nonprofit organization funding for each histology. Total revenue from nonprofit organizations supporting individual cancer types was compared to the incidence, mortality, and person-years of life lost (PYLL) for each cancer.

Data were included for 119 nonprofit organizations with a total revenue of $6 billion. The researchers found that breast cancer, leukemia, pediatric cancers, and lymphoma had the largest revenue ($460, $201, $177, and $145 million, respectively). Compared with their incidence, mortality, and PYLL, breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and pediatric cancers were all well-funded. In all three metrics, gastrointestinal cancers, gynecologic cancers, and brain and lung cancers were poorly funded. All cancers associated with a stigmatized behavior (e.g., lung cancer and smoking) were poorly funded in two or more metrics. There was a strong correlation for increased spending on fundraising, administrative costs, patient education, and treatment with increased revenue.

“Underfunding may have negative downstream effects on research, novel drug development and number of FDA drug approvals for poorly funded cancers,” the authors write.

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