A new study of the rates of cancer in all 27 of the European Union countries found that cancer survival rates were directly correlated with the amount of money spent per person by the respective governments on health care. The results were presented at the Sept. 29, 2013, session of the European Cancer Congress by Dr. Felipe Ades, a medical oncologist at the Breast European Adjuvant Studies Team (BrEAST), a clinical trials unit and data center in Belgium, and simultaneously published in the journal Annals of Oncology.
Dr. Ades found a direct correlation with gross domestic product (GDP) and cancer survival. Dr. Ades focused on breast cancer as one of the most common forms of cancer, one of the most treatable forms of cancer, and one of the most survivable cancers.
The highest per capita government expenditure on individual health care was in Luxembourg at 6,952 U. S. dollars and the lowest was in Romania at 818 U. S. dollars.
Similar expenditure in the United States to produce a similar breast cancer survival rate would cost the government $1,081,813,500,000 a year.
Western Europe has about ten times more money than Eastern Europe and about 25 percent of the population.
The financial differences are reflected in the ability of government to provide preventative programs like smoking cessation as well as the number of physicians and hospital beds available.
Ades states that “We have observed that the more spent on health, the fewer the deaths after a cancer diagnosis and this is specially marked in breast cancer. We have also noticed that, despite all the initiatives to standardize public health policies, there is significant variation between health expenditure and cancer incidence and mortality in the 27 EU member states. This disparity is more glaring between the Western and Eastern European countries.”
The conclusions are based on population data, cancer incidence data, and mortality data from the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.