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Projected Impact on Labour Productivity Costs of Cancer-Related Premature Mortality in Europe 2018–2040

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



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s). Aim: To estimate the potential cost of lost labour productivity due to cancer-related premature mortality in Europe (EU-27 plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and United Kingdom) from 2018 to 2040. Methods: Deaths and years of potential productive life lost due to 23 types of cancer were estimated for 2018–2040, for 31 European countries. The data were analysed by age groups, by sex and by year. Projected productivity costs were estimated by calculating gross earnings by country, gender and age group using the Human Capital Approach, adjusting for projected labour force participation and unemployment rates. Various data sources were used. Sensitivity analyses were conducted. Results: Between 2018 and 2040, cancer is expected to cause around eight million premature deaths (58% male). The cumulative projected productivity costs in this respect are €1.3 trillion, representing an annual average of €58.7 billion, or 0.43% of the EU-27 gross domestic product. Labour productivity costs are projected to decrease by 6% from 2018 to 2040. The highest cost region is Western Europe, where Germany and France will experience the highest cumulative losses (€288 and €192 billion, respectively). The most costly cancers, in terms of total costs related to productivity losses, are of the lung and colorectum (€264.4 and €116.3 billion, respectively). In terms of average productivity cost per death, the most costly forms of cancer are Hodgkin lymphoma (€301,157) and melanoma (€260,522). Conclusion: The novel information presented could help national policymakers anticipate possible areas for cost savings. Action should be taken on disease prevention, on reducing mortality and on delaying the age of death due to Hodgkin lymphoma, brain cancer, leukaemia and melanoma. Furthermore, the study findings enhance our understanding of macroeconomic variables and could be useful in determining a re-allocation of health expenditures.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

Year: 2023

Volume: 21

Pages: 877-889

Print publication date: 01/11/2023

Online publication date: 08/08/2023

Acceptance date: 04/07/2023

Date deposited: 13/09/2023

ISSN (print): 1175-5652

ISSN (electronic): 1179-1896

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s40258-023-00824-6

PubMed id: 37552416


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Funder referenceFunder name
CRUE-CSIC agreement with Springer Nature
Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
XXXIX Edition of the Research Grant in Health Economics and Health Services, Spanish Health Economics Association