Rethinking Cancer, a new report by the International Longevity Centre- UK (ILC-UK) quantifies the cost of cancer to the UK economy, its families and its communities. The independent report, supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb*, presents research on the economic and societal impact of cancer.

The report considers the wider cost of cancer alongside the 160,000 deaths it causes each year in the UK.

Key findings:

  • 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.
  • The 1.8 million people living with and beyond cancer in the UK contribute approximately £6.9 billion to the UK economy each year through paid employment.
  • The wider societal contributions of cancer survivors are significant and have been valued at £15.2 billion per year. This includes providing hours of informal care to others, along with voluntary and domestic work.

‘Rethinking Cancer’ outlines the changes required to increase survivorship and better support those living with and beyond cancer, their employers, families, friends and relatives.

Increase survival rates
The report reveals that the gap in cancer survival rates between England and the European average has remained at around 10% for the last two decades. ILC-UK calculate that closing the gap would contribute £117 million to the UK economy.

Support Cancer Survivors
Rethinking Cancer finds that if employment rates for cancer survivors were the same as for the rest of the population cancer survivors would contribute an additional £4 billion to the UK economy each year.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “Government and health professionals have a moral obligation to continue 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 prevention; 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.”

*Bristol-Myers Squibb provided financial sponsorship to cover the costs of producing the report. The company had no input to the report and ILC-UK retained full editorial control.


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