Cancer's global economic burden to hit $25T over 30 years

An analysis of 29 cancers across 204 countries found cancer will cost the global economy 25.2 trillion international dollars in the next 30 years.

The study, published Feb. 23 in JAMA Oncology, found five cancers will account for nearly half that cost. Tracheal, bronchial and lung cancer were the most costly, followed by colon and rectal, breast, liver cancer and leukemia. Those cancers alone are expected to cost 12 trillion dollars between 2020 and 2050.

Three-quarters of deaths by cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries, but more than half of the global cost of cancer will surface in high-income countries, with China and the U.S. bearing the highest burden, according to the analysis. Part of that outsized burden is due to large populations but also is attributed to high healthcare costs in the U.S.

Without further investment in research and prevention, the cost of cancer will add up between healthcare costs, lost labor and spent savings, according to the study.

Editor's note: International dollars are an artificial currency often used in economic analyses and comparisons across countries.

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