CCHE Seminar Series: The economic burden of cancer that falls outside of health systems

Beverley Essue

University of Toronto

Friday March 19th, 2020, 10Am-12Pm, Zoom

Abstract: Cancer continues to pose a major strain on health care systems as well as on the household budgets of patients and their families. Most of the research on the economic burden of cancer has focused on the impact for health systems, especially in light of the costs associated with new treatment modalities and innovations in cancer care. Far less focused attention has been given to examining the economic burden of cancer and cancer treatment experienced by patients and by extension, the broader impacts on society. The research in this area has tended to come from smaller studies, of mixed designs and using a range of methodologies, which has limited opportunities to generalize beyond the study contexts to understand the full scope of the economic burden associated with cancer within and across different health system contexts.

In response to this, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer undertook three major systematic reviews of published literature to distill and critique the evidence on the cancer-related economic burden associated with a) out-of-pocket costs; b) indirect costs and; c) psychosocial costs. Drawing on research from 148 studies across the three reviews, this talk will critically discuss the state of the evidence on the economic burden borne by cancer patients and by society. It will offer insights on key research gaps and methodological stagnation and highlight the areas that should form the basis of a future research agenda on this topic.

Beverley Essue is an Associate Professor of Global Health at the University of Toronto. She is a global health systems researcher and health economist who leads interdisciplinary research focused on strengthening health systems, supporting effective and equitable priority setting and advancing equity and gender equality. She has led work for key global health initiatives including the Disease Control Priorities initiative, the Lancet taskforce on noncommunicable diseases and the Lancet Commission on Gender Based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People. She was previously the senior health economist at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer where she led a program focused on supporting partners across the cancer system in Canada to have access to health economics evidence to support decision making. As part of this work, she led a program on addressing gaps in the evidence on the economic burden of cancer.