Oncology at the forefront of measuring outcomes – The status of cancer care in EU

Nils Wilking

  • Between 1995 and 2018, cancer incidence increased by 50% in Europe, but cancer mortality increased only by 20%.
  • The total cost of cancer was €199 billion in 2018. Total costs ranged from €160 per capita in Romania to €578 in Switzerland (after adjustment for price differentials).
  • Direct health spending on cancer doubled from €52 billion to €103 billion (in 2018 prices and exchange rates), whereas the share of cancer care on the total health expenditure remained stable at around 4–7%.
  • Informal care costs were €26 billion. The total productivity loss was €70 billion, composed of €50 billion from premature mortality and €20 billion from morbidity.
  • Expenditure on cancer medicines tripled from 2005 to 2018 (€32 billion; excluding confidential rebates).
  • Patient access to cancer medicines was much greater in wealthier than poorer countries in 2018. The top spenders were Austria, Germany, and Switzerland (€92 to €108 per capita), whereas Czechia, Latvia, and Poland spent the least (€13 to €16). The largest country differences were seen in immuno-oncology medicines.
  • Inequalities are mainly related to countries’ economic strength and not to the disease burden of cancer.
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