National Cancer Institute Home at the National Institutes of Health | www.cancer.gov

Spotlight on Applied Research

New & Forthcoming Data

MEPS Data Illuminate Cancer Survivors' Experiences

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) is a nationally representative survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of all ages in the US. Conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the MEPS collects comprehensive data on health care utilization and expenditures. Data are collected through in-person interviews over a two-year period.

The National Cancer Institute is collaborating with the American Cancer Society (ACS)External Web Site Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), LIVESTRONGExternal Web Site Policy, and the AHRQ to provide supplemental funding to the MEPS to improve the quality of data for estimating the cancer survivorship burden in the US.

Households with cancer survivors are oversampled for selection in the MEPS. The resulting increased sample of cancer survivors will improve national estimates of the burden of cancer, particularly medical care expenditures for patients of all ages. Additionally, this collaborative group developed a targeted questionnaire, Experiences with Cancer, to further understand the cancer burden, its treatment and impact on access to health care, the ability to work and participate in usual activities, health insurance, and quality of care.

These data will allow scientists to conduct many types of studies of the US cancer burden. Cancer survivorship research questions that can be addressed with the data include:

  • financial burden;
  • access to medical care;
  • employment and employment patterns;
  • health care utilization and expenditures; and
  • use of prescription drugs by cancer survivors.

Data from the cancer survivorship supplemental questionnaire were released in September, 2013. Please see the MEPS Web site for more information.

For more information about the kinds of studies that can be conducted using the MEPS cancer survivorship data, please visit http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/meps/.

Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014