Boston: Cancer, projected to become the
leading cause of death worldwide this year, has emerged as the
costliest disease, costing the global economy nearly a
trillion dollars a year, according to a report.
Cancer has the most devastating economic impact of any
cause of death in the world, the American Cancer Society said
in a study on the economic cost of all causes of death
The economic toll from cancer, estimated to be 895
billion dollars, is nearly 20 per cent higher than heart
disease, the second leading cause of economic loss (USD 753
"This analysis does not include direct medical costs,
which would further increase and possibly double the total
economic cost caused by cancer.
The lost years of life and productivity caused by cancer
represent the single largest drain on national economies,
compared to other causes of death, including HIV/AIDS and
other infectious diseases," the study said.
The World Health Organisation projects that cancer will
become the world`s leading cause of death this year, followed
by heart disease and stroke.
Cancers of the lung, bronchus, and trachea by far account
for the largest drain -- nearly USD 180 billion yearly -- on
the global economy.
"We now know that without immediate intervention, the
burden of cancer will grow enormously in low and middle income
countries, with demands on health care systems and economic
costs that are more than these developing economies can bear,"
chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society John
A separate study by researchers at Harvard Medical School
and the Harvard School of Public Health says cancer, once
considered to be a problem primarily in the developed world,
is now a leading cause of death and disability in poorer
Almost two-thirds of the 7.6 million cancer deaths in the
world occur in low and middle-income countries.
"The international community must now discard the notion
that cancer is a `disease of the rich` and instead approach it
as a global health priority," the paper, authored by Harvard
School of Public Health dean Julio Frenk and 19 other cancer
It said many of the more than 4 million deaths from
cancer each year in low- and middle-income countries can be
averted through early detection and treatment.
The study proposes raising global awareness of the impact
of cancer on developing countries and increasing access to
best treatment through procurement of affordable drugs and
services as the key ways to check spread of the disease