[Ip-health] BBC: Cancer costing European Union countries 'billions'

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Oct 14 01:45:49 PDT 2013


14 October 2013 Last updated at 01:27 GMTCancer costing European Union
countries 'billions'

The charity Cancer Research UK said it was a "huge burden"

.Cancer costs countries in the European Union 126bn euro (£107bn) a year,
according to the first EU-wide analysis of the economic impact of the

The figures, published in the Lancet
included the cost of drugs and health care as well as earnings lost through
sickness or families providing care.

Lung cancer was the most costly form of the disease.

The team from the University of Oxford and King's College London analysed
data from each of the 27 nations in the EU in 2009.

The showed the total cost was 126bn euro and of that 51bn (£43bn) euro was
down to healthcare costs including doctors' time and drug costs.

Lost productivity, because of work missed through sickness or dying young,
cost 52bn (£44bn) euro while the cost to families of providing care was put
at 23bn (£19.5bn) euro.

Overall, richer countries, such as Germany and Luxembourg, spent more on
cancer treatment per person than eastern European countries such as
Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Lung cancer accounted for more than a tenth of all cancer costs in Europe.
The deadly cancer tends to affect people at an earlier age than other
cancers so the lost productivity through early deaths is a major factor.
Other issues

However, the overall economic burden is behind the costs of dementia and
cardiovascular disease.

An EU-wide study, by the same research group, showed cardiovascular
diseases, including high blood pressure and stroke, cost 169bn euro
(£144bn) a year <http://www.herc.ox.ac.uk/research/cvd> while dementia
cost 189bn
euro (£169bn) <http://iospress.metapress.com/content/k215857wgt25m578/fulltext.pdf?page=1>in
just 15 countries in Western Europe.

Dementia has very high costs associated with long-term care while
cardiovascular diseases include such a wide range of conditions it affects
many more people than cancer.

One of the researchers, Dr Ramon Luengo-Fernandez, from the Health
Economics Research Centre at the University of Oxford, said: "By estimating
the economic burden of several diseases it will be possible to help
allocate public research funding towards the diseases with the highest
burden and highest expected returns for that investment."

Prof Richard Sullivan, from King's College London, said: "It is vital that
decision-makers across Europe use this information to identify and
prioritise key areas.

"More effective targeting of investment may prevent health care systems
from reaching breaking point - a real danger given the increasing burden of
cancer - and in some countries better allocation of funding could even
improve survival rates."

Sara Osborne, head of policy at Cancer Research UK, said: "The financial
impact that cancer has on the economy across Europe due to people dying
prematurely from the disease and time off work remains a huge burden.

"This study reinforces why research is vital to improve our understanding
of the causes of cancer - so that we lessen the impact of the disease and
develop better ways to prevent and treat the illness.

"We also need to understand why the UK's cancer mortality rates remain
higher than many EU countries despite a similar spend on cancer care."

More information about the Ip-health mailing list