Cancer costs global economy nearly a trillion dollars a year
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) projections, in 2010, cancer will become the world's leading cause of death, followed by heart disease and stroke.
This critical and timely new joint report, authored by American Cancer Society researchers Rijo John,director of international tobacco control research, and Hana Ross, strategic director of international tobacco control research, shows that cancer has the greatest economic impact from premature death and disability of all causes of death worldwide.
The data from this study provides compelling new evidence that balancing the world's global health agenda to address cancer will not only save millions of lives, but also billions of dollars. In 2008, cancer accounted for nearly a trillion dollars in economic losses from premature death and disability.
The economic toll from cancer is nearly 20 percent higher than heart disease, the second leading cause of economic loss ($895 billion and $753 billion respectively). This analysis does not include direct medical costs, which would further increase, and possibly double, the total economic cost caused by cancer.
The lost years of life and productivity caused by cancer represent the single largest drain on national economies, compared to other causes of death, including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, said: “Cancer’s human toll, in terms of suffering and death, is tragic and largely preventable. We now know that without immediate intervention, the burden of cancer will grow enormously in low- and middle income countries, with demands on health care systems and economic costs that are more than these developing economies can bear.”
For this study, researchers used data from the WHO that combine the death and disability dimensions of illness into a single summary, called a DALY (disability-adjusted life year), for 17 types of cancer as well as the 15 leading causes of death.
Death and disability from lung cancer, colon/rectal cancer and breast cancer account for the largest economic costs on a global scale, and the greatest burden in high income countries.
In the low-income countries, cancers of the mouth and oropharynx, cervix and breast have the greatest impact. Available interventions to prevent, detect, and/or treat these common cancers could not only save lives but also improve economic development prospects in many nations.
Cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea by far account for the largest drain - nearly $180 billion yearly - on the global economy. If current trends continue, tobacco will kill 8 million per year by 2030, with more than 80 percent of the deaths taking place in low- to middle-income countries.
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