Cookie Settings

We use cookies to optimize our website. These include cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as those that are only used for anonymous statistic. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Further information can be found in our data privacy protection .


These cookies are necessary to run the core functionalities of this website and cannot be disabled.

Name Webedition CMS
Purpose This cookie is required by the CMS (Content Management System) Webedition for the system to function correctly. Typically, this cookie is deleted when the browser is closed.
Name econda
Purpose Session cookie emos_jcsid for the web analysis software econda. This runs in the “anonymized measurement” mode. There is no personal reference. As soon as the user leaves the site, tracking is ended and all data in the browser are automatically deleted.

These cookies help us understand how visitors interact with our website by collecting and analyzing information anonymously. Depending on the tool, one or more cookies are set by the provider.

Name econda
Purpose Statistics
External media

Content from external media platforms is blocked by default. If cookies from external media are accepted, access to this content no longer requires manual consent.

Name YouTube
Purpose Show YouTube content
Name Twitter
Purpose activate Twitter Feeds

The socio-economic consequences of cancer - an underestimated problem

No. 15 | 27/03/2024 | by Koh

Many cancer patients suffer not only from health problems, but experience loss of income and out-of-pocket expenditures for medical services. This is true even in European countries with high incomes and comprehensive health insurance systems. This problem has been largely underestimated in the past and little systematic research has been carried out. The Organization of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) is now presenting consensus recommendations to guide future research into the socio-economic consequences of cancer.

© Fotolia

So far, the problem has been researched mainly in the US, focusing on so-called "financial toxicity" as a result of expensive treatment and often limited insurance coverage. This overlooks the fact that financial burdens often have socio-economic consequences for cancer patients and their families.

European research to date is limited and hampered by heterogeneous methods and a lack of standardized terminology. To address this shortcoming and guide research and policy on these issues, a task force initiated by the OECI has now presented 25 recommendations that provide a comprehensive definition of "socioeconomic impact" from the perspective of patients and their families and propose a standardized taxonomy. The OECI Task Force's consensus statement also identifies directions for future research that may also inform policy decisions to alleviate the socioeconomic burden of cancer patients.

The OECI Task Force was led by Michael Schlander, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Institute for Innovation & Valuation in Health Care (InnoVal-HC,) and Wim van Harten from the Netherlands Cancer Institute. In a two-year process, the researchers developed 25 consensus recommendations. The consensus was endorsed by 25 co-authors representing the leading cancer research centers across Europe. It proposes a neutral scientific definition of socioeconomic impact, a comprehensive framework that defines the different dimensions and a broader scope, and recommends directions and standards for future studies.

The consensus of the OECI Task Force fills an important gap, as the financial burden of many cancer patients leads to psychological problems and reduced quality of life. Even the success of treatment can be impaired, which can be associated with a higher mortality rate. The problem affects patients at all stages of the disease, from diagnosis through treatment to long-term survival, and extends to partners and family members.
However, the factors that predict the vulnerability of certain patient groups to financial stress and burden are only partially understood, and there is a lack of robust data on the extent of the problem and knowledge of effective interventions.

Claudio Lombardo, Director General of the OECI, emphasizes the importance of these consensus recommendations: "The work can contribute to a better understanding of the problems faced by patients. It provides guidance for improvements and policy measures to reduce the socio-economic burdens that patients face."

In follow-up projects, the researchers plan to structure further research, develop and validate measurement tools and also develop tools to help oncologists better support patients in this area.

The Organization of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) was founded in 1979 and currently has 141 member organizations from Europe and increasingly from other continents. The Task Force on the Socio-Economic Impact of Cancer was set up by Michael Schlander as part of the OECI Working Group on Health Economics. The members of the Task Force represent health economists from cancer centers in 25 EU countries, Chile and Palestine.

Michael Schlander et al.: The socioeconomic impact of cancer on patients and their relatives: Organisation of European Cancer Institutes task force consensus recommandations on conceptual framework, taxonomy, and research directions.
The Lancet Oncology 2024, DOI:

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


Subscribe to our RSS-Feed.

to top
powered by webEdition CMS