Why are cancer treatments so expensive?

Experts warn the cost of cancer treatment is becoming unsustainable.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has warned that more than half of all cancer treatments globally are “unnecessary” and should be stopped.

The IARC has also said the cost to patients of cancer treatments is a “distortion of reality” and has criticised the “overwhelmingly negative” economic and social impact of cancer on people.

The global total for cancer treatment has increased from 1.7 billion people in 1995 to 1.9 billion in 2013.

The total cost of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments in 2015 was $10.7 trillion, up from $8.4 trillion in 1995, according to the IARC.

The cost of treating cancer was $1.6 trillion in 2015, the Iarc said.

The number of people living with cancer is set to increase by 10 million per year by 2030.

The proportion of people with cancer has also increased by nearly two-thirds in the last decade, from 8.4 per cent in 1994 to 10.3 per cent last year.

The report said there was “a growing awareness” of the health and financial risks associated with the illness.

“The burden of disease, including cost and social cost, has increased dramatically over the last 30 years,” the report said.

It also said that the number of cancer patients in developing countries has doubled in the past decade.

The annual global average cost of treatment has risen from $3,400 in 1995 in Africa and the Middle East to $6,500 in 2013 in North America and Europe, according the report.

The average cost for treatment in North Africa rose from $2,000 to $4,200 in the same period.

In the Americas, where the global average for cancer costs has increased to $5,600, the average cost rose from just over $1,000 in 1995.

In Africa, the report found the average for treatment was $2.80 per kilogram of body weight, which rose to $3.75 in 2013, up almost 30 per cent from just under $1 in 1995.(AP: Jonathan Ernst)The costs for treating patients have also grown by nearly a third over the past five years.

In the Americas the average was $9,800 in 2015.

In Asia, where cancer costs are rising, the increase is “quite remarkable”, the report added.

“Overall, the number and magnitude of cost increases in cancer treatment and healthcare has reached unprecedented levels,” the IACS said.

“More than half the world’s cancer patients, over 20 million people, are expected to be diagnosed with cancer by 2030.”

The cost to a patient of cancer is often a complex and uncertain matter, with estimates ranging from $500 to $10,000 a year.IARC Director-General Dr Craig Idso said that “significant progress has been made” in the understanding of cancer and its treatment, but added that further research was needed to improve estimates of the true cost of care.

“There are still a significant number of cancers that are untreatable or incurable and there is much that is not yet known about how to reduce their burden and their costs,” he said.

In a statement on Friday, IARC said it would publish its latest estimate of the global cost of medical treatment in 2020.

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