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The Cost of Cancer: Countless Lives and Almost a Trillion Dollars

August 18, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - The worldwide cost of cancer comes to $895 billion, according to a report issued jointly by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Foundation. The figure includes only lost productivity and not the cost of treatment.

In the United States, says ACS spokesman Chuck Reed, strong smoke-free laws have cut into tobacco use, so cancer deaths are down here. In many foreign countries without those laws, however, cases of cancer are increasing.

"In Third World countries, they are not seeing the progress made in tobacco control. So, more people are using tobacco, meaning their cancer rates are higher. I think if there is one thing we can focus on in this report, it's that tobacco control is very important and not occurring enough in Third World countries."

Another result of the report, notes Reed, is that it shows what can happen when two cancer prevention groups join forces.

"This report is by the American Cancer Society and the Lance Armstrong LIVESTRONG Foundation. So, when these two get together, I think it exemplifies the fact that people are trying to work together in fighting cancer."

He says the report also provides evidence that changing the worldwide health agenda to address cancer would save millions of lives and billions of dollars.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA