How much does cancer cost the health system?

Cancer Council report says it's the $6 billion disease

Each new patient diagnosed with cancer costs the health system almost $34,000 in the first year of treatment, with colorectal, breast and lung cancers the most expensive, a study shows.

Overall, the cost of cancer to Australia’s health services was $6.3 billion in 2013, according to a new report from Cancer Council NSW.

Colorectal cancer cost the most at $1.1 billion a year, followed by breast cancer at $0.8 billion, lung cancer at $0.6 billion and prostate cancer at $0.5 billion.

Bowel and breast cancer account for 30% of all health system costs.

“Costs were dominated by initial treatment and end-of-life care; however, continuing care costs for cancer survivors (for example, ongoing surveillance, medicines) were also substantial,” the researchers say.

Here are the key findings on cancer cost to the health system:

  • In the year before diagnosis, patients cost an