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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Productivity losses and public finance burden attributable to breast cancer in Poland, 2010–2014

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Błażej Łyszczarz, Ewelina Nojszewska



Apart from the health and social burden of the disease, breast cancer (BC) has important economic implications for the sick, health system and whole economy. There has been a growing interest in the economic aspects of breast cancer and analyses of the disease costs seem to be the most explored topic. However, the results from these studies are hardly comparable. With this study we aim to contribute to the field by providing estimates of productivity losses and public finance burden attributable to BC in Poland.


We used retrospective prevalence-based top-down approach to estimate the productivity losses (indirect costs) of BC in Poland in the period 2010–2014. Human capital method (HCM) and societal perspective were used to estimate the costs of: absenteeism of the sick and caregivers, presenteeism of the sick and caregivers, disability, and premature mortality. We also used figures illustrating public finance burden attributable to the disease. Deterministic sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the stability of the estimates. A variety of data sources were used with the social insurance system and Polish National Cancer Registry being the most important ones.


Productivity losses associated with BC in Poland were €583.7 million in 2010 and they increased to €699.7 million in 2014. Throughout the period these costs accounted for 0.162–0.171% of GDP, an equivalent of 62,531–65,816 per capita GDP. Losses attributable to disability and premature mortality proved to be the major cost drivers with 27.6%–30.6% and 22.0%–24.6% of the total costs respectively. The costs due to caregivers’ presenteeism were negligible (0.1% of total costs). Public finance expenditure for social insurance benefits to BC sufferers ranged from €50.2 million (2010) to €56.6 million (2014), an equivalent of 0.72–0.79% of expenditures for all diseases. Potential losses in public finance revenues accounted for €173.9 million in 2010 and €211.0 million in 2014. Sensitivity analysis showed that the results were robust to changes in the model parameters.


The productivity losses attributable to BC in Poland were a sizable burden for the society. They contributed both to decreased economy output and to public finance deficit.
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