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Cancer costs “could reach £25bn in next decade”

17 February 2010

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Cancer survival rates in England need to match the best in Europe to cut costs and avoid a near £25bn annual bill over the next decade, a new report has suggested.

Currently, the disease costs around £18bn a year, made up of £5bn in NHS costs, and lost productivity due to illness and premature deaths amount to almost £13bn in England alone, according to research.

By 2020, cancer costs are likely to reach £24.72bn, the report published by the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange said, of which £6bn will include NHS costs and more than £18bn in lost productivity.

The UK’s death rate is still about 6% more than advanced European countries, although this is falling, but if survival rates improved to European standards, the cost of cancer could be cut by £10bn in the next 10 years, the study added.

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The report blames late diagnosis, poor survival rates for older people and those in deprived communities, as well as relatively poor take-up of new treatments as the most likely reasons for the higher death rate.

Meanwhile, spending on cancer medicines is only about 60% of that in other advanced European countries.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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