Cancer care is evolving rapidly, and costs and value of new treatments are frequently debated. Up-to-date evidence on the total cost of cancer is needed to inform policy decisions. This study estimates the cost of cancer in Europe in 2018 and extends a previous analysis for 1995–2014.
Cancer-specific health expenditure were derived from national estimates. Data on cancer drug sales were obtained from IQVIA. The productivity loss from premature mortality was estimated from data from Eurostat and the World Health Organization. Estimates of the productivity loss from morbidity and informal care costs were based on previous studies.
The total cost of cancer was €199 billion in Europe (EU-27 plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) in 2018. Total costs ranged from €160 per capita in Romania to €578 in Switzerland (after adjustment for price differentials). Health expenditure on cancer care were €103 billion, of which €32 billion were spent on cancer drugs. Informal care costs were €26 billion. The total productivity loss was €70 billion, composed of €50 billion from premature mortality and €20 billion from morbidity.
Health expenditure on cancer care were of a similar magnitude as the sum of non-health-care costs in 2018.Over the last two decades, health spending on cancer has increased faster than the increase in cancer incidence. The productivity loss from premature mortality has decreased because of reductions in mortality in the working-age population. Trends in informal care costs and productivity loss from morbidity are uncertain because of lack of comparable data.
European Journal of Cancer, 2020;129 p.41–49.