The economic burden of cancer in Korea in 2009

So Young Kim, Jong Hyock Park, Kyoung Hee Kang, Inuk Hwang, Hyung Kook Yang, Young Joo Won, Hong Gwan Seo, Dukhyoung Lee, Seok Jun Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cancer imposes a significant economic burden on individuals, families and society. The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic burden of cancer using the healthcare claims and cancer registry data in Korea in 2009. Materials and Methods: The economic burden of cancer was estimated using the prevalence data where patients were identified in the Korean Central Cancer Registry. We estimated the medical, non-medical, morbidity and mortality cost due to lost productivity. Medical costs were calculated using the healthcare claims data obtained from the Korean National Health Insurance (KNHI) Corporation. Non-medical costs included the cost of transportation to visit health providers, costs associated with caregiving for cancer patients, and costs for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Data acquired from the Korean National Statistics Office and Ministry of Labor were used to calculate the life expectancy at the time of death, age- and gender-specific wages on average, adjusted for unemployment and labor force participation rate. Sensitivity analysis was performed to derive the current value of foregone future earnings due to premature death, discounted at 3% and 5%. Results: In 2009, estimated total economic cost of cancer amounted to $17.3 billion at a 3% discount rate. Medical care accounted for 28.3% of total costs, followed by non-medical (17.2%), morbidity (24.2%) and mortality (30.3%) costs. Conclusions: Given that the direct medical cost sharply increased over the last decade, we must strive to construct a sustainable health care system that provides better care while lowering the cost. In addition, a comprehensive cancer survivorship policy aimed at lower caregiving cost and higher rate of return to work has become more important than previously considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1301
Number of pages7
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Cost analysis
  • Cost of illness
  • Health care costs
  • Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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