In a new report, the Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE) analyzes the societal cost of cancers of the digestive system. The societal cost – comprised of direct costs, informal care costs, and indirect costs – of all cancers and of specific cancer types is an under-researched area. The report provides new estimates of costs in 2018 for the six major cancer types of the digestive system – esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer. The analysis covers 31 European countries, the EU-27 member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK.
A prevalence-based cost-of-illness study was conducted to estimate the costs of the six major cancer types of the digestive system. Direct costs (including costs of cancer drugs), informal care costs, and indirect costs (related to premature mortality and morbidity) were included. Direct costs were calculated in a top-down manner by combining total health expenditure with national estimates of the share of total health expenditure spent on cancer care overall and on cancers of the digestive system. Data on cancer drug sales were obtained from IQVIA. Informal care costs were based on results from a previous study. Indirect costs related to premature mortality were calculated based on data from Eurostat and indirect costs related to morbidity were based on results from a previous study.
The total cost of the six cancer types of the digestive system jointly amounted to almost €39 billion in Europe in 2018. This represented around 19% of the total cost of cancer of €199 billion. Colon cancer caused the highest cost amounting to €12.2 billion, followed by pancreatic cancer with €7.0 billion, rectal cancer with €6.8 billion, and stomach cancer with €5.0 billion. Liver cancer with €4.0 billion and esophageal cancer with €3.6 billion caused the lowest cost.
The report shows that non-health care costs form a major part of the total costs in all countries. In all six cancer types, the sum of informal care costs and indirect costs was either equally large as the direct costs (colon cancer and rectal cancer) or larger than the direct costs (esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer). Health policy makers should not neglect informal care costs and indirect costs in their decision making.
This report was commissioned and funded by Digestive Cancers Europe.
News Digestive Cancers Europe (October 14, 2020)
Contact: Thomas Hofmarcher
Previously published IHE Reports on cancer in Europe:
Hofmarcher T, Lindgren, P, Wilking N and Jönsson B.
The cost of cancer in Europe 2018
European Journal of Cancer. 2020. 129(April):41–49.
Hofmarcher T, Brådvik G, Svedman C., Lindgren P, Jönsson B and Wilking N.
Comparator Report on Cancer in Europe 2019 – Disease Burden, Costs and Access to Medicines
IHE Report 2019:7, Lund: IHE, Sweden
Download the report
- IHE-Report-2020_6_.pdfFilesize: 1 MB
IHE Report 2020:6, Lund: IHE, Sweden, 2020.