The objective of this study was to estimate the economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from occupational and paraoccupational asbestos exposure in Canada. The authors estimate the lifetime cost of newly diagnosed lung cancer and mesothelioma cases associated with occupational and paraoccupational asbestos exposure for calendar year 2011 on the basis of the societal perspective. The key cost components considered are healthcare costs, productivity and output costs, and quality of life costs.
There were 427 cases of newly diagnosed mesothelioma cases and 1,904 lung cancer cases attributable to asbestos exposure in 2011 for a total of 2,331 cases. The authors' estimate of the economic burden is CAD 831 million in direct and indirect costs for newly identified cases of mesothelioma and lung cancer and CAD 1.5 billion in quality of life costs based on a value of CAD 100,000 per quality-adjusted life year. This amounts to CAD 356,429 and CAD 652,369 per case, respectively.
The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma associated with occupational and paraoccupational asbestos exposure is substantial. The estimate identified is for 2,331 newly diagnosed, occupational and paraoccupational exposure cases in 2011, so it is only a portion of the burden of existing cases in that year. The findings provide important information for policy decision makers for priority setting, in particular the merits of banning the mining of asbestos and use of products containing asbestos in countries where they are still allowed and also the merits of asbestos removal in older buildings with asbestos insulation.
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