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South Asian J Cancer. 2020 Jan-Mar;9(1):7-12. doi: 10.4103/sajc.sajc_382_18.

Economics of cancer care: A community-based cross-sectional study in Kerala, India.

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Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India.
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Department of Hospital Administration, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, Kerala, India.



The estimated incidence of cancer cases in Kerala for 2014 was 31,400 and the mortality associated with it was 13,816. Although the treatment of cancer has shown remarkable advances, it has come with increasing costs.


The objective of this study is to estimate the economic burden of cancer in Vypin Block Panchayat at Ernakulam by analyzing the average total direct and indirect cost of cancer care, socioeconomic status, and cost of cancer care between government and private hospitals.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted for 2 months from March to April 2018. The study was conducted by utilizing an annotated cost questionnaire for completion by patients. Total direct and indirect cost was estimated. Appropriate statistical tests were used.


Direct cost for cancer care contributed 75% toward the cost of illness and the remaining was found to be indirect cost. Loss of income (44%) contributed to the largest chunk of indirect cost. The average direct cost for cancer care was found to be Rs. 25,606 and the average indirect cost was Rs. 8772. The average total cost of cancer care was calculated to be Rs. 34,378. Significant statistical variation was found between the cost of cancer care in private and government hospitals. The economic burden of cancer in this Vypin Block Panchayat was found to be Rs. 218,256,977/.


The ratio of average income to average cost in this study is skewed which indicates the lack of affordability for cancer care in this population. A very large gap, therefore, exits between income levels and cost of cancer care clearly indicating a vast gap between affordability and cost of treatment, which clearly necessitates the need for a definite policy and state intervention for a mass cancer care program.


Burden of disease; cancer care; cost of care

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