Breast cancer continues to have devastating impacts on people’s lives. And the cost of the disease is alarming.
Our report, published in partnership with Demos, reveals that this year breast cancer is estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £2.6-£2.8 billion. This annual cost could rise by almost 40% to £3.6 billion by 2034.
It also predicts a staggering £17.5 billion in wellbeing costs for people with breast cancer and their loved ones to support their reduced quality of life.
With the health crisis growing, this report is essential to understand how breast cancer affects the economy, people with the disease, and what we can do to tackle these challenges.
Read the cost of breast cancer report
Breast cancer is far from a done deal.
Now, for the first time, we’ve set out the true human and economic costs of breast cancer and demonstrated some of the ways these could be tackled.
This report must act as a wake-up call to improve the lives of those impacted by breast cancer and reduce financial costs for the NHS and UK economy.
What are the costs?
£2.6-£2.8 billion in 2024
This number is not just how much the NHS pays for diagnosis and treatment. It’s also how much people lose when they or their caregivers can't work, and how much it costs people out of their own pocket.
£17.5 billion in 2024
Around 6 times higher than the estimated economic costs, this wellbeing cost exposes the often unrecognised, wider impacts of breast cancer across everyone affected by this devastating disease.
£3.6 billion by 2034
If nothing is done, the annual cost of breast cancer to the UK economy could rise by almost 40% by 2034.
How can we tackle this?
Increasing breast screening uptake
Increasing breast screening uptake to 80% would save the economy between £96m and £111m by 2034. And save around £1.2bn in wellbeing costs.
More clinical nurse specialists
Despite the initial costs, making sure everyone diagnosed has a clinical nurse specialist would save the NHS over £118m in 2034. The savings are even more in wellbeing terms - £312m in 2034.
Returning to work after a diagnosis
Helping more people return to the workplace would financially support people impacted by the disease and the economy. This could mean economic savings of £328m to £411m in 2034.
If we want to reach our vision of making sure that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer lives and is supported to live well, we still have huge progress to make. At a time of enormous pressure on our health system and our economy, it’s vital that we understand the full impact breast cancer is having.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO of Breast Cancer Now
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