Cancer Res Treat.  2020 Jul;52(3):896-906. 10.4143/crt.2019.398.

Socioeconomic Burden of Cancer in Korea from 2011 to 2015

  • 1Division of Cancer Control and Policy, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Koreayang, Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Kyung Hee University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Cancer Control and Population Health, National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea


Though the socioeconomic burden of cancer on patients is increasing in South Korea, there is little research regarding the type of cancer that incurs the highest costs. This study analyzed the socioeconomic burden on cancer patients from 2011 to 2015 according to sex and age.
Materials and Methods
A prevalence-based approach was applied utilizing claim data of the National Health Insurance Service in Korea to estimate the socioeconomic burden of cancer on patients. Patients who received treatment for cancer from 2011 to 2015 were the study subjects. The total socioeconomic burden of their disease and treatment was divided into direct and indirect costs.
There was an increase of 50.7% for 5 years, from 821,525 to 1,237,739 cancer patients. The cancer costs for men and women increased $8,268.4 million to $9,469.7 million and $3,626.5 million to $4,475.6 million, respectively. Furthermore, the 50-59-year-old age group accounted for a large portion of the total disease cost. Liver, lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers created the heaviest economic burdens on patients.
Overall, this study indicates new policies for cancer prevention, early detection, and postcancer treatment management are necessary to help limit the costs associatedwith cancer, especially in the elderly, and provides a foundation for establishing cancer-related health care policies, particularly by defining those cancers with heavier disease burdens.


Cost of illness; Socioeconomic burden; Cancer; Cancer prevalence
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