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The cost of premature death from cancer attributable to alcohol: Productivity losses in Europe in 2018

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Marta Ortega, Professor Linda Sharp


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© 2023Background: More than 1.9 million people die from cancer each year in Europe. Alcohol use is a major modifiable risk factor for cancer and poses an economic burden on society. We estimated the cost of productivity lost due to premature death (under 65 years of age) from alcohol-attributable cancer in the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (UK) in 2018. Methods: We estimated cancer deaths attributable to alcohol using a Levin-based population attributable fractions method and cancer deaths in 2018 from the Global Cancer Observatory. Lost productivity was estimated for all alcohol-attributable cancer deaths by sex, cancer site, and country. Productivity losses were valued using the human capital approach. Results: An estimated 23,300 cancer deaths among people aged less than 65 in the EU plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK in 2018 were attributable to alcohol (18,200 males, 5100 females). This equated to €4.58 billion in total productivity losses in the region and 0.027 % of the European Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The average cost per alcohol-attributable cancer death was €196,000. Productivity lost to alcohol-attributable cancer per capita was highest in Western Europe. Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Portugal had the highest rate of premature mortality from alcohol-attributable cancer and the highest productivity lost as a share of national GDP. Conclusion: Our study provides estimates of lost productivity from alcohol-attributable cancer death in Europe. Cost-effective strategies to prevent alcohol-attributable cancer deaths could result in economic benefits for society and must be prioritised.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rumgay H, Ortega-Ortega M, Sharp L, Lunet N, Soerjomataram I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Epidemiology

Year: 2023

Volume: 84

Print publication date: 01/06/2023

Online publication date: 12/04/2023

Acceptance date: 05/04/2023

ISSN (print): 1877-7821

ISSN (electronic): 1877-783X

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.canep.2023.102365


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