An analysis of the social and economic costs of breast cancer in Italy

Mennini, Francesco Saverio, Trabucco Aurilio, Marco, Gazzillo, Simone, Nardone, Claudia, Sciattella, Paolo, Marcellusi, Andrea, Migliorini, Raffaele, Sciannamea, Valerio, Piccioni, Andrea, Bolcato, Matteo and Barni, Sandro (2021) An analysis of the social and economic costs of breast cancer in Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(17), p. 9005. ISSN (online) 1660-4601


Background: Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer affecting women and it represents an important economic burden. The aim of this study was to estimate the socio-economic burden of breast cancer (BC) in Italy both from the National Health Service (NHS) and the government perspectives (costs borne by the social security system). Methods: The economic analysis was based on the costs incurred by the NHS from 2008 to 2016 (direct costs related to hospitalizations) and by the National Social Security Institute (INPS) from 2009 to 2015 (costs of social security benefits) for patients with breast cancer. The analysis was based on the Hospital Information System (HIS) and Disability Insurance Awards databases. For both databases, patients affected by a malignant neoplasm of the female breast, carcinoma in situ, or secondary malignant neoplasm of the breast were considered. Results: Results show that more than 75,000 women were hospitalized for breast cancer every year, with an overall cost for hospitalization of about €300 million per year. From the Social Security analysis, a number of 29,000 beneficiaries each year was estimated. Considering per patient social costs, breast cancer at the primary stage cost €8828 per year, while secondary neoplasms cost €9780, with an average total economic burden of €257 million per year. Conclusions: This analysis focused on the economic impact of breast cancer in Italy, showing that an advanced stage of the disease was associated with a higher cost.

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