Cancer cost 'becoming unsustainable' in rich nations

By REUTERS
September 26, 2011 15:59

 
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STOCKHOLM - An explosion of new technologies and treatments for cancer coupled with a rapid rise in cases of the disease worldwide mean cancer care is rapidly becoming unaffordable in many developed countries, oncology experts said on Monday.

With costs ballooning, a radical shift in thinking is needed to ensure fairer access to medicines and address tricky questions like balancing extra months of life for patients against costs of a new drug, technology or care plan, they said.

"The cancer community needs to take responsibility and not accept a sub-standard evidence base and an ethos of very small benefit at whatever cost," said a report commissioned by the Lancet Oncology medical journal on the costs of cancer care.

"There should be fair prices and real value from new technologies."

Some 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year and that number is expected to rise to 27 million by 2030.

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