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True extent of economic cost of cancer revealed- It is a staggering amount.

Health Insurance Daily Oct 14 2013

European countries losing billions to cancer.

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

The staggering sum is a combination of the cost of drugs and healthcare as well as earnings lost through sickness or families providing care.

A 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 and of that €51bn (£43bn) euro was down to healthcare costs including doctors’ time and drug costs, the BBC reports.

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

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 was the most costly form of the disease. It accounts for more than a tenth of all cancer costs in Europe.

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

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.”