Noticed an ad for a cancer treatment center lately? Feel as if
you might be seeing more of them? Dedicated and hospital-owned
cancer treatment centers are pouring money into marketing. Kantar
Media data for 2014 and 2015 show cancer both driving more spend
and claiming greater share of total spend by medical facility
And yet the rate of cancer cases per 100,000 US adults is
shrinking - from 487 at the start of the century to 443 in 2012,
according to Kantar Health.
One reason for the ad surge is demography. While the rate of
cancer cases has dropped, the number of newly diagnosed cases is at
a high for the century: 1,724,154 as of 2012, up from 1,441,295 in
2000. This is due to changing population demographics. "Most cancer
is among the elderly and the US elderly population is growing,"
says David Robinson, vice president at Kantar Health.
- 2.1% growth in overall ad spend by medical facilities Jan-Oct 2014 to 2015
- 33.1% growth in spend on cancer-related ads by medical facilities, same timeframe
Another reason: healthcare reform and industry dynamics have
made cancer treatment good business. "We've seen a lot of
consolidation in the US healthcare delivery system in general, and
cancer is a particularly hot growth and opportunity area," says
Meadow Green, a Kantar Health oncology market specialist. The
Affordable Care Act "puts emphasis on overall healthcare
coordination. Since hospitals receive facilities charges along with
the traditional reimbursement rates, buying or building a cancer
care center is a particularly attractive means of expansion for
Healthcare reform also made more hospitals eligible for greater
profits off cancer treatment, she adds, making building or
acquiring a cancer program even more attractive.
Slow growth in total spending by medical facility advertisers
makes the cancer-driven surge easy to spot. Comparing January
through October of 2014 to the same 10-month period of 2015, Kantar
Media shows that hospitals, clinics and medical centers overall
spent just 2.1% more on measured-media advertising from 2014 to
2015, from just under $1.9 billion to just over $1.9 billion.
Spending by these facilities on cancer-specific advertising,
however, spiked by 33.1%, from $138 million to $183.7 million. And
in terms of its share of overall medical facility ad spend,
cancer-specific ad spend grew from 7.4% to 9.6%.
While Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) did not
increase its ad spend by much year-over-year, from $84.2 million
for January through October 2014 to $86 million for the same
stretch in 2015 for an increase of just 2.1%, the chain is by far
the biggest advertiser in the medical facility category, accounting
for about 5% of the more than $1.9 billion spent by the category
from January through October 2015.
The second-biggest advertiser, the University of Texas system,
spent $28.4 million during the same timeframe. Home to the MD
Anderson Cancer Center, that $28.4 million represents a 67.8%
increase over the same timeframe in 2014, with much of the increase
driven by greater spending to promote Anderson.
The University of Utah, as another example, upped its ad spend
by almost 433% across the two timeframes in question, with most of
that driven by additional promotion of its Huntsman Cancer
Institute. Lancaster General Health increased its spend by 1096%
overall, from $1.6 million in 2014 to $19.6 million in 2015,
including $5.2 million in brand-new ad spending to promote its
Beyond CTCA, the following cancer centers upped their ad spend
significantly from 2014 to 2015: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
Center (an increase of 65.8%), Dana Farber Cancer Institute
(234.5%), Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (315.1%), Seattle
Cancer Care Alliance (45.6%), and Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The nation's swelling elderly population provides a second
motivation for cancer-focused facilities to spend big on television
advertising in particular, as the TV viewing population also is
aging. The next time you notice a cancer center ad, remind yourself
that you're not as young as you used to be.
Kantar Media's Siu-Ching Chan contributed to this