Many cancer deaths could be eliminated by greater awareness and access to latest treatments, report says

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 14 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h223
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Most deaths from cancer before advanced old age could be eliminated by 2050, claims a new report from the School of Pharmacy at University College London.1 But achieving this goal needs better awareness of cancer, a greater willingness of patients to share their worries with health professionals, and continuing access to the latest treatments even when they may seem expensive.

Overcoming Cancer in the 21st Century, which was funded by the Boots UK pharmacy group, argues that anticancer drugs are not a major item of public expenditure. Cancer is responsible for around a quarter of all deaths, but care of cancer patients amounts to no more than 6-7% of all healthcare spending in the United Kingdom, or around 0.7% of gross domestic product. Within cancer care, drug treatments typically represent about a fifth of the total cost, or between 0.1% and 0.2% of GDP.

“This is affordable for countries that wish to prioritise …

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