Cancer costs to rise dramatically

The cost of diagnosing and treating cancer is likely to rise by almost two thirds over the next decade, according to Bupa.

Bupa estimates that the cost of cancer diagnosis and treatment will rise from £9.4billion in 2010 to £15.3billion by 2021 - an increase of £5.9billion. This will mean that while in 2010, the average cost of treating someone diagnosed with cancer was approximately £30,000; by 2021 this will rise to almost £40,000.

The increase in the overall cost of cancer diagnosis and treatment is partly the result of our ageing population, which is predicted to lead to a 20% growth in cancer rates by 2021. The cost of cancer technologies and treatments will continue to rise significantly over the 10-year period.

Professor Karol Sikora of Cancer Partners UK says, “The cost of providing optimal care will rise by a staggering 62% over the next decade. Cancer is predominantly a disease of older people and because of the advances of modern medicine; many more are living in good health well beyond retirement. When cancer does strike, we now have powerful new technologies available to gradually turn cancer into a chronic, controllable disease like diabetes. However, the rising numbers and the advent of innovation come with a hefty price tag."

The report identifies three approaches that could help address the challenge:

Find new ways to address the cost of tests and treatments for cancer

  • Ensure better national planning for availability of new drugs and technologies
  • Integrate companion tests for personalised medicines into care pathways
  • Find new ways to bring cancer drugs to market

Change how and where we treat cancer patients and survivors

  • Make out-of-hospital care a standard choice for patients
  • Enable patients to manage their follow-up appointments

Make it easier for people to navigate their cancer treatment options

  • Enable patients to transfer between public and private facilities more easily
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