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Paid and unpaid productivity losses due to premature mortality from cancer in Europe in 2018

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp


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© 2021 UICC.When someone dies prematurely from cancer this represents a loss of productivity for society. This loss can be valued and provides a measure of the cancer burden. We estimated paid and unpaid productivity lost due to cancer-related premature mortality in 31 European countries in 2018. Lost productivity was estimated for all cancers combined and 23 cancer sites, overall, by region and country. Deaths aged 15 to 64 were abstracted from GLOBOCAN 2018. Unpaid time lost (housework, caring, volunteering) was derived from Eurostat. Paid and unpaid productivity losses were valued using the human capital approach. In total, 347,149 premature cancer deaths occurred (60% male). The total value of cancer-related lost productivity was €104.6 billion. Of this, €52.9 billion (50.6%) was due to lost paid work, and €51.7 billion (49.4%) to unpaid work. Females accounted for 36.7% of paid work costs but half (51.1%) of the unpaid work costs. Costs were highest in Western Europe (€52.0 billion). The most costly cancer was lung (€21.7 billion), followed by breast (€10.6 billion). The average loss per premature death was highest for Hodgkin's lymphoma (€506 345), melanoma (€450 694), brain cancer (€428 449) and leukaemia (€378 750). Cancer-related lost productivity costs are significant. Almost half are due to unpaid work losses, indicating the importance of considering both paid and unpaid labour in assessing the cancer economic burden. The high cost per premature death of some less common cancers illustrates the potential benefits that could accrue from investment in prevention and control of these cancers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ortega-Ortega M, Hanly P, Pearce A, Soerjomataram I, Sharp L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Cancer

Year: 2022

Volume: 150

Issue: 4

Pages: 580-593

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 27/09/2021

Acceptance date: 06/09/2021

ISSN (print): 0020-7136

ISSN (electronic): 1097-0215

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1002/ijc.33826

PubMed id: 34569617


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