Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases in 2012 alone. The increasing incidence of the disease paired with the rising prices of drugs and therapies make cancer the most expensive condition today. The cost of cancer reached a record number of $100 billion globally in 2014.
The astounding finding suggests that not only cancer cases have surged, but the price of treatment did, as well. The data comes from US research organization IMS Institute for Healthcare and its latest Oncology Trends report, released Tuesday. The global spending on cancer treatments and supportive care topped $100 billion in 2014, which represents a substantial increase of 10.8 percent from last year. This amount also includes the spending on drugs for cancer-related conditions and side-effects such as nausea and anemia. The introduction of new and expensive medicines and alternative, hot treatments such as the so-called immunotherapy is also a huge factor in the increase of cancer costs.
The World Cancer Report 2014 by the World Health Organization says that the incidence of cancer has increased worldwide in the past few years. While in 2008, there were approximately 12.7 million cancer cases, the numbers jumped to 14.1 million in 2012. Moreover, the WHO predicts that new cases are expected to rise by over 70 percent over the next 20 years. It means that in just two decades or even less, 25 million people will be diagnosed with the deadly disease each year.
However, the picture isn’t so pessimistic after all, as experts point out that treatments and medicines are getting better and more efficient every year. At the same time, more and more people have access to them. In fact, the earlier diagnosis, the longer duration of treatments, as well as the increased effectiveness of therapies are largely contributing to the rising global spending. As medicine progresses, patients have access to innovative therapeutic classes, combination therapies, and modern, expensive drugs.
The report also highlights the biggest global cancer spenders. The United States is leading, accounting for 42.5 percent of the world spending. Other top oncology markets are Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain and France. Many countries, mostly developing economies, on the other hand, have less access to modern therapies. Patients in poor countries and regions also can’t afford treatment, while often, they never receive a proper or timely diagnosis. As there are no official statistics for such nations, or they aren’t correct, the actual number of new cancer cases may be much higher.