The Economic Burden of Head and Neck Cancers in Denmark


Introduction: The incidence of head and neck cancers has increased markedly over the last decade. A Danish study of the costs of head and neck cancers has not been undertaken. Such studies have again become relevant due to the development of the HPV vaccines, as some cases are attributable to high-risk HPV 16 or 18. The objective of study was to estimate the incidence of head and neck cancers and their health care costs. Methods: Data on incidence and health care use related to head and neck cancer were obtained from Danish health care registers. New cancer patients were identified in the Danish National Cancer Register. Resource use per year in the hospital sector was estimated using data from the National Patient Register applying charges as cost estimates. Health care consumption by cancer patients was compared with that by an age- and sex-matched cohort without cancer. Results: We found that nearly 1000 new cases of oral cavity, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer are diagnosed annually. In total the cost of these cancers to the Danish hospital sector constituted 31.6 million Euros per year, with the majority of costs (74%) occurring in men. The total costs associated with HPV16/18-related head and neck cancers were estimated to be 6.1 million Euros per year. Conclusion: This study provides the first Danish estimates of the costs associated with non-cervical and non-genital HPV-related cancers based on very reliable, individual-based data. It is expected that the current HPV vaccination programme will reduce this burden.

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J. Olsen, T. Jørgensen and N. Rubek, "The Economic Burden of Head and Neck Cancers in Denmark," International Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2013, pp. 103-109. doi: 10.4236/ijohns.2013.23024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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