When it comes to diagnosing diseases, the disease is all too often left out

By KEVIN LAMBERT and DAN RYANWASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – Americans spend about a quarter of their income on medical care and are likely to spend nearly as much on other medical expenses in the coming years, according to a report released on Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, based on data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that the median household income of people with at least one diagnosis of a medical condition, including cancer, was $52,800 in 2016, down 1.3 percent from $54,600 in 2015.

It said the median annual income for people with one or more chronic conditions was $40,600, up 0.4 percent from 2015, but that the average annual income was up only 1.6 percent.

More than half of Americans who had a diagnosis of at least a chronic condition in 2016 spent $1,200 or more on medical expenses, the report said.

“People are more likely to see their doctors for their chronic conditions and to seek treatment for them, which means more doctors, more tests and more expensive treatments,” said Dr. William R. LaRue, the lead author of the report and a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Pittsburgh.

“The burden of paying for health care for all Americans has never been greater,” he said.

Larger hospitals and doctors are required to report their medical spending, the study said.

A total of about 7.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2016.

Nearly one in five of them, 1.9 million, were diagnosed in the past year, while 1.4 million were diagnosed before the year began.

In the past decade, more people with cancer were diagnosed than diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or arthritis.

“We need to recognize that a diagnosis isn’t necessarily the end of a person’s life,” LaRua said.

“But it’s the beginning of the end.”(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Robert Birsel)