In 2009 the disbursement for cancer treatments raised to € 126.000 million within the EU

A recent analysis published in ‘The Lancet Oncology’ magazine concludes that during 2009 the total expenses for cancer treatments in the EU member states amounted to € 126.000 million. Cures represent a quarter of the total cost (14.000 million), whereas the remaining expenses concern the loss in productivity due to the premature death of individuals or due to their inability to work because of the illness. The research was undertaken by English bodies (the King’s College, the Oxford University, The Institute of Cancer Policy and KHP Cancer Center) and was based on EUROSTAT and WHO data.

The conclusions of this work highlight profound differences among member states. According to the 2009 analysis Luxemburg and Germany are at the top of the spending chart, being the two countries that spend the most in the struggle against cancer, while Bulgaria is the one that spends the less. For medical cures Lithuania allocates the lowest percentage of its medical national budget, whereas Cyprus allocates the highest.

The survey also analyses deeply the distinguished expenses for different cancer types: breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. It resulted that the lung cancer is the one for which a mayor disbursement is needed (6.700 million, 13% of total amount), and it is also the one causing the mayor loss in productivity and consequently in wealth.

This research is the first one done on a European scale and it may be a useful tool for European authorities for a better focused spending. It also stands out the difference between cardiovascular diseases and cancer regarding the indirect cost in productivity: nevertheless the first ones cause the more deaths, cancer’s cost is bigger than cardiovascular diseases’ one, because cancer kills more people in their working-age.