A new report says the difference in cancer survival rates between England and rest of Europe has stood at about 10% for the past 20 years, and closing that divide would add about £117 million ($180 million) a year to the U.K. economy.
“Rethinking Cancer,” which was compiled by the International Longevity Centre-UK with financial support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, has calculated the cost of cancer to the U.K. economy by looking at the disease’s wider societal and economic impact.
More than 50,000 working-age people die of cancer every year, which equals a £585 million ($898 million) blow to the U.K. economy. The report also found that during the rest of their working lives, those people could have contributed £6.8 billion (nearly $10.5 billion).
The report also highlights the considerable contribution to families, communities and the economy made by cancer survivors. The 1.8 million cancer survivors in the U.K. contribute £6.9 billion ($10.6 billion) to the economy annually through paid employment, as well as wider social contributions totaling about £15.2 billion ($23.3 billion), 52 million hours of volunteer work and 1.5 billion hours of domestic work per year.
“Rethinking Cancer” reaches the conclusion that besides the ever-important need to increase survival rates, better support to cancer survivors is imperative; 37% of those who return to work after being treated for the disease say they experience some form of discrimination from their colleagues or employer, and 9% feel they are harassed to the point that they cannot stay in their job. Additionally, if cancer survivors’ employment rates were the same as the rest of the population’s, the survivors would contribute an extra £4 billion ($6.2 billion) to the U.K. economy annually.