Cancer survival linked to government spending
New research concludes there is a direct correlation between a government’s spending on health care and the number of deaths from cancer in that country. This relationship is especially strong with breast cancer, researchers found.
The research, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, was just presented to the 2013 European Cancer Congress.
Researchers from the Breast European Adjuvant Studies Team (BrEAST) analyzed data on populations, cancer incidence and mortality from the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. They compared different countries’ wealth and health expenditure indicators with their own estimates of the proportion of patients dying after they were diagnosed with cancer.
Countries that spend less than the equivalent of $2,000 in U.S. dollars per capita in health care see about 60 percent of patients die after a diagnosis of cancer (including Romania, Poland and Hungary); countries that spend between $2,500 and $3,500 see about 40 percent (including Portugal, Spain and the U.K.), and countries that spend around $4,000 see fewer than 40 percent (including France, Belgium and Germany.)
The research does not analyze the reasons why Western European countries see a higher incidence of cancer than Eastern European countries. However, it might be partially caused by the greater number of effective preventive measures in Western European countries, such as cancer screening programs.
The researchers said the findings are significant because they show that funding for health systems is crucial to ensure that cancer patients avoid tragic outcomes.