Call to cut cancer bill with home treatment to stop “bankrupting” healthcare systems
The rising cost of cancer treatment could ‘bankrupt’ healthcare systems, a leading expert warned last night.
Cancer specialist Karol Sikora said costs could be cut by treating patients at home.
He also called on the public to take more responsibility for their health and questioned whether terminal patients should be given drugs to extend their life.
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Professor Sikora spoke out as a report revealed the annual bill for cancer treatment in the UK is forecast to rise from 9.4billion to 15.3billion in a decade.
This would mean the NHS having to increase its spending on cancer treatment by 65 per cent.
Commenting on the report, compiled for healthcare group Bupa, Professor Sikora, of the Hammersmith Hospital in London, said that 20 per cent of the increase can be explained by the ageing population.
But the bulk of it will be due to the cost of new medicines and treatments.
Professor Sikora said: ‘If this trend continues it could bankrupt the healthcare systems of rich countries and never be affordable by the poor.’
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Solutions put forward in the report, compiled by healthcare analysts Laing & Buisson, include making it easier for cancer patients to be given their chemotherapy at home.
Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘The number living with cancer will double from 2million to 4million over the next 20 years.
‘Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer. We’ve therefore got to become twice as effective in how we spend the money.’