Cancer is costing countries across the European Union an estimated €126 billion in costs including healthcare and productivity losses, research has revealed.
The study was published in The Lancet Oncology presenting estimates of cancer-specific costs across the countries of the EU.
It was carried out by researchers from the Health Economics Research Centre at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, King's College London, Institute of Cancer Policy and KHP Cancer Centre UK.
In 2008, 2.45 million people were diagnosed with cancer and 1.23 million died because of cancer in the 27 countries of the EU.
Overall, cancer cost the EU €126 billion in 2009, with health care accounting for €51.0 billion (40% of all cancer-associated costs). Informal care cost €23.2 billion.
Productivity losses because of early death cost €42.6 billion and lost working days added up to between €9.43 billion, the research projected.
Across the EU, the health-care costs of cancer were equivalent to €102 per citizen, but varied substantially from €16 per person in Bulgaria to €184 per person in Luxembourg.
Lung cancer had the highest economic cost (€18.8 billion, 15% of overall cancer costs), followed by breast cancer (€15.0 billion, 12%), colorectal cancer (€13.1 billion, 10%), and prostate cancer (€8.43 billion, 7%).
Speaking to the BBC Prof Richard Sullivan, from King's College London and one of the authors of the report 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."
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