International Longevity Centre-UK investigates cancer’s cost to the UK economy

‘Rethinking Cancer’, a new report by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) quantifies the costs of cancer to the UK economy, its families and its communities.

The independent report, supported by Bristol-Myser Squibb, presents research on the economy and societal impact of cancer. It considers the wider cost of cancer alongside the 160,000 deaths it causes each year in the UK.

It found that in a single year, over 50,000 people of working age lose their lives to the disease, and in 2014, these people could have contributed £585 million to the UK economy. Furthermore, the 1.8 million people living with and beyond cancer in the UK, contribute approximately £6.9 billion to the nation’s economy each year through paid employment. Indeed, the wider societal contributions of cancer survivors are significant and have been values in the region of £15.2 billion per year. This figure includes providing hours of informal care to others, along with voluntary and domestic work.

The report outlines the changes required to increase survivorship and better support those living with and beyond cancer, their employers, families, friends and relatives. If employment rates were the same as for the rest of the population, cancer survivors would contribute an additional £4 billion to the economy each year.

It also revealed that the gap in cancer survival rates between England and the European average has remained at around 10 per cent for the last two decades. ILC-UK calculates that closing the gap would contribute around £117 million to the UK economy.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, says: “Government and health professionals have a moral obligation to improve cancer survival rates and better support cancer survivors. ‘Rethinking Cancer’ also highlights the economic imperative for action. It is vital that the Government’s vision to improve cancer outcomes through better preventing; swifter diagnosis; and better treatment, care and aftercare is delivered.

“It is also important that we ensure that cancer patients receive support which can help them gain confidence in returning to employment.”


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