The number of people who will get preventable cancer will reach around 184,000 this year and cost the economy £78 billion, according to one study.
About 4 in 10 cancers are classified as preventable, as they are caused by alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, and exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The number of preventable cancers is increasing every year, up from around 155,000 in 2019/2020, and will cost the country around 3.5 per cent of GDP this year.
And cancer incidence will continue to rise as the population ages and factors such as obesity increase, the report warns.
The total cost of all preventable cancers between 2023 and 2040 will reach a staggering £1.26 trillion during this time if current trends continue.
About 4 in 10 cancers are classified as preventable as they are caused by alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, and exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Health consultancy Frontier Economics’ analysis looks at five cost areas: individual, health care, social care, family and carer, and productivity.
In 2023, the biggest contributor to the total cost to the economy of £78bn will be the loss of productivity and economic growth, which will rise to £40bn.
In addition, it estimates the cost to people at £30bn in terms of loss of quality of life and loss of income.
The cost to the NHS in terms of medical treatment for preventable cancer is around £3.7 billion, the study suggests.
The study finds that the overall economic impact is greatest for lung cancer (approximately £630,000 per case); similar for bowel, breast and other cancers (between £300,000 and £400,000 per case); and the lowest for melanoma (approximately £135,000 per case).
Matthew Bell, director of Frontier Economics, said: ‘Experts estimate that almost 40 per cent of cancer cases in the UK can be prevented through actions such as reducing smoking, obesity and radiation exposure. ultraviolet.
“Reducing the significant number of people with these cancers could be a central element in reducing some costs for the NHS and, more importantly, improving the productivity, growth and lives of countless people and their families.”
The study estimated that cancer cases will continue to increase, mainly due to population growth rather than changes in cancer incidence rates.
The research estimates that in 2040 there will be approximately 226,000 new preventable cancer cases (up from 184,000 in 2023), and between 2023 and 2040 there will be a total of 3.7 million new preventable cancer cases.
The total cost of all preventable cancers between 2023 and 2040 will reach a staggering £1.26 trillion if current trends continue.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, comments: “This report is a stark reminder of the countless lives that could be saved by preventing cancer and a call to the UK government to make health prevention strategies key to alleviating the pressures. about our NHS and our economy. .
“If recent trends continue, smoking could cause around a million more cases of cancer in the UK by 2040, and more than 21 million UK adults could be obese, increasing their risk of developing more cancers.” of 13 types of cancer.
Dr Sadie Boniface, head of research at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, comments: ‘Since 1988, the IARC has classified alcohol as a group 1 carcinogen, along with tobacco and asbestos.
‘In 2020 alone, almost 17,000 alcohol-related cancers were diagnosed in the UK. To turn the tide on alcohol-related cancers and alcohol harms in general, where deaths are currently at record levels, we need policies to tackle cheap alcohol, reduce its availability and limit its marketing.’
Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, comments: “There is a horrendous price to pay for the endless insults about what is and is not a ‘nanny state’.
‘It’s time for the debate to grow and focus on what is evidence-based and will be best for the public. Companies whose products do not harm their customers are currently paying the price of those that do, just like all of us.’