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Occup Environ Med. 2012 Aug;69(8):582-6. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2011-100462. Epub 2012 May 10.

Estimation of benefit of prevention of occupational cancer for comparative risk assessment: methods and examples.

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  • 1Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli County, Taiwan.



To quantify the life years gained and financial savings by preventing a case of occupational cancer.


The authors retrieved data from the Taiwan Cancer Registry and linked them with the National Mortality Registry to estimate the survival functions for major occupational cancers: lung, pleural mesothelioma, urinary bladder and leukaemia. Assuming a constant excess hazard for each type of cancer, the authors extrapolated lifetime survival functions by the Monte Carlo method. For each patient with cancer, the authors simulated an age- and gender-matched person without cancer based on vital statistics of Taiwan to estimate life expectancy and expected years of life lost (EYLL). By using the reimbursement data from the National Health Insurance Research Database, the authors calculated the average monthly healthcare expenditures, which were summed to estimate the lifetime healthcare expenditures after adjusting for the corresponding monthly survival probability.


A total of 51,408, 136, 12,891 and 5285 new cases of lung, pleural mesothelioma, bladder and leukaemia cancers, respectively, were identified during 1997-2005 and followed until the end of 2007. The EYLL was predicted to be 13.7±0.1, 18.9±0.7, 4.7±0.3 and 19.4±0.5 years for these cancers, respectively, and the lifetime healthcare expenditures with a 3% annual discount were predicted to be US$22,359, US$14,900, US$51,987 and US$59,741, respectively.


The burden of these occupational cancers, in terms of EYLL and lifetime healthcare expenditures, was substantial. Such estimates may provide useful empirical evidence for comparative risk assessment that can be applied in health policy-making and clinical decision-making.

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