Review finds costs of cancer-related premature mortality are rising

A review of the premature mortality costs associated with cancer has found that these costs are substantial, and appear to be rising.

Premature mortality costs are one component of the societal impact that cancer has on the economic health of a country, on top of the obvious population health burden. These costs to society are related to lost productivity – the time lost from usual activities such as work, household activities, caregiving and voluntary work – that occur when an individual dies prematurely from cancer.

Researchers from the National College of Ireland and the National Cancer Registry Ireland conducted a review of recent studies of premature mortality costs. In all settings considered, the costs of premature cancer-related mortality were substantial, and appeared to be increasing. Of note, the ‘true’ societal costs were often underestimated, as unpaid work such as household activities, caring and volunteer work were not included.

The review identified that improvements in the quality and quantity of cancer-related premature mortality cost estimates are required, as increased awareness of the societal impacts of cancer can inform health policy makers.

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