Forgotten public health impacts of cancer – an overview

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Susana Viegas Carina Ladeira Ana Costa-Veiga Julian Perelman Goran Gajski


Cancer is one of major public health problems all over the world. It is one of the diseases of greatest concern in developed countries and much effort has been invested in discovering and developing therapeutics for curing cancer. Despite the improvements in antineoplastic therapeutics in the last decades, cancer is still one of the most harmful diseases worldwide. The global burden of cancer also implies financial costs: these can be direct costs, such as those related to treatment, care, and rehabilitation and indirect, which include the loss of economic output due to missed work (morbidity costs) and premature death (mortality costs). There are also hidden costs such as health insurance premiums and nonmedical expenses that are worth noting. This paper intends to present an overview of the generally forgotten impacts that the increasing number of cancer cases can have on the environment, workers who handle antineoplastic drugs, and health services. The knowledge available of each of the impacts will be addressed and discussed regarding the expected development. Overall, lessons learnt reflect on the impact of cancer through aspects not commonly evidenced in the literature or even considered in socio-economic analysis, in part due to the fact that these are difficult to contemplate in direct and indirect cancer costs already defined. Attention may be drawn to the need of continuous investment in prevention to reduce the negative impact on the environment, and in the health of workers who handle antineoplastic drugs for patients' treatment.

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VIEGAS, Susana et al. Forgotten public health impacts of cancer – an overview. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, [S.l.], v. 68, n. 4, nov. 2017. ISSN 1848-6312. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 may 2018. doi: