Cancer ravaging GDP growth

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Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) senior lecturer and health economist Dr Norashidah Mohamed Nor says a study in Australia has shown that having a 1% increase in total cancer death rates will lead to a 1.6% decrease in a country’s economic health or gross domestic product (GDP).

“Therefore, the increase in the prevalence of cancer, coupled with an increase in the ageing population, will reduce GDP,” she says.

The sickness can end up in huge economic costs, to the tune of a whopping RM5.17tril (US$1.16tril) from the world’s 14 million new cases every year, according to a report titled “Cancer – It’s Everyone’s Business” by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

In the report published by the The Star in Malaysia, the UICC describes cancer as the world’s biggest killer, with 8.2 million people succumbing to the disease in 2012.

“Half of those people were aged between 30 and 69, in the peak of their productive years,” the report says.
It also highlights that developing economies face challenges as the prevalence of cancer and other non-communicable diseases continue to spike.
“This doesn’t just drain their resources, it deprives them of the workers they need to build their way out of poverty and achieve economic growth,” the report says.

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