According to a new study, the 2008 global economic crisis followed by the rise in unemployment was associated with more than 260,000 excess cancer-related deaths including many considered treatable ones.
“Higher unemployment due to economic crisis and austerity measures is associated with higher number of cancer deaths. Universal health coverage protects against these deaths. That there are needless deaths is a major societal concern,” said Rifat Atun, from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
It is also believed that increased joblessness during the economic crisis may have limited people's access to health care, leading to late-stage diagnoses and poor or delayed treatment. The findings also point towards the tight association between public health-care spending and cancer mortality.
Previous studies have also shown connections between economic changes and rates of suicides, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality, only a few had examined the relationship between economic downturns and cancer outcomes, especially in countries with underdeveloped social security and health care systems.
After initial increase in unemployment, it was found that adverse health effects persisted for several years. In addition, excess cancer deaths were a more significant problem in middle-income countries than in high-income countries. The study published in The Lancet.