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Cancer is the world’s costliest disease

The Washington Post/AP, August 17, 2010

Cancer is the world's top "economic killer" as well as its likely leading cause of death, the American Cancer Society contends in a new report it will present at a global cancer conference in China this week. Cancer costs more in productivity and lost life than AIDS, malaria, the flu and other diseases that spread person-to-person, the report concludes. Chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes account for more than 60% of deaths worldwide but less than 3% of public and private funding for global health, said Rachel Nugent of the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based policy research group. Cancer's economic toll was $895 billion in 2008 - equivalent to 1.5% of the world's gross domestic product, the report says. That's in terms of disability and years of life lost - not the cost of treating the disease, which wasn't addressed in the report.