A report by Frontier Economics has found there will be 184,000 preventable cancers diagnosed this year in the UK, costing £78 billion.
The causes of the cancers are tobacco, alcohol, poor diet, and UV radiation.
The costs include £40 billion in lost productivity, individual costs of £30 billion, £3.7 billion NHS costs, £3.4 billion cost to families and carers, and £1.3 billion in social care costs. This is equivalent to 3.5% of GDP.
Cancer Research UK’s chief executive Michelle Mitchell, said that:
“This report is a stark reminder of the countless lives that could be saved by preventing cancer and a call to the UK government that health prevention strategies are key to relieving pressures on our NHS and economy.”
She called for bold action to reduce smoking rates.
The BMA called for the government “to reduce the availability and attractiveness of products such as alcohol, tobacco and junk food that contribute to a large number of preventable diseases, including some cancers.”
IAS’s Dr Sadie Boniface said that:
“Since 1988, alcohol has been classified as a class 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) alongside tobacco and asbestos. In 2020 alone, almost 17,000 cancers due to alcohol were diagnosed in the UK.”
A DHSC spokesperson said:
“We have introduced calorie labelling, announced a £40m pilot to give eligible patients living with obesity access to effective obesity drugs, and will help a million smokers across England quit by giving them a free vaping starter kit. There are record numbers of cancer checks happening in the NHS and our major conditions strategy will set out further plans to tackle the main causes of ill-health.”