Cancer costs the world nearly $1 trillion

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Cancer researchers announced Tuesday that cancer costs the global economy nearly $900 billion a year -- more than any other cause of death.

The study, conducted by the American Cancer Society and Livestrong, shows that disability and premature deaths from cancer are greater costs to productivity and the economy than any other cause of death.

Cancer caused $895 billion in economic losses from premature death and disability in 2008, based on the most recent data available, announced researchers Dr. Rijo John and Dr. Hana Ross of the American Cancer Society.

"The lost years of life and productivity caused by cancer represent the single largest drain on national economies, compared to other causes of death, including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases," the study said.

The study said the economic toll from cancer, projected to be the world's leading cause of death, was 20% higher than heart disease, which caused $753 billion worth of economic losses in 2008.

And this is just the indirect cost. The study does not include direct medical costs, "which would further increase, and possibly double, the total economic cost caused by cancer."

The study said that lung, bronchial and tracheal cancers are the most costly, accounting for $180 billion of the world tally. These types of respiratory cancers are on track to kill eight million people annually by 2030, the study said.

In addition to lung cancer, colon/rectal and breast cancer are also among the costliest forms of the disease, the study said, particularly in high income countries. In low income countries, cancers of the mouth, cervix and breast tend to be the costliest. To top of page

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