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Research Reveals Unhealthy Lifestyles Takes a Financial Toll on National Healthcare Systems


The infographic depicts how bad habits increase the cost of cancer in ten countries across the world

New research—commissioned by GE Healthcare—reveals the burden bad habits and lifestyle choices are having on global healthcare systems, adding approximately $33.9 billion per year to costs linked to cancer care.

This finding is supported by data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) that shows bad habits continue to be prevalent in all markets across the world. According to WHO, at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable offering the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.*

WHO recommends regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet, in order to reduce cancer risk. Reduction or even abstention of alcohol and tobacco consumption is also highly recommended.

In addition, national policies and programs should be implemented to raise awareness and reduce exposure to cancer risk factors, and to ensure that people are provided with the information and support they need to adopt healthy lifestyles.*

GE Healthcare’s research is sure to raise searching questions about the soaring costs of treating cancer and the potential annual savings in the face of national healthcare austerity cuts.

As depicted in the infographic the escalating cost of cancer care could be offset with annual savings of $25 billion to the cancer care bill if individuals took positive steps towards eliminating bad habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and physical inactivity from their lifestyles.

By investigating the relationship between these four key bad habits to breast, lung and colon cancer, researchers revealed that up to half of all cancer-related deaths can be prevented by making healthy choices. 

According to the research, the United States with $18.41 billion or 54% of the total current annual global cost of cancer tops the table followed by China at $8.57 billion (25.3%) and France, Germany and Turkey at around $1.5 billion (4.4%). Developing markets such as Brazil with $378 million (1.1%) and Saudi Arabia $107 million (0.3%) currently have significantly lower annual costs of cancer at this point. 


#GetFit Campaign

This data reinforces the importance of the #GetFit campaign in driving education and awareness of the link between healthy choices, early diagnosis and the possible risk of cancer. The campaign is now an annual event that promotes the theme of cancer prevention and intensify global public awareness. The campaign achieves this by using the power of social media to cultivate healthy habits that can aid in reducing the chances of developing cancer.

With the help of Twitter, Instagram, and Sina Weibo reaching out to people worldwide has never been simpler. Participants in the campaign can log on and share as well as receive tips on how they can improve their health and well-being.

A healthier lifestyle means not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, sticking to a healthy diet, being physically active and getting recommended screening tests. By practicing these habits the hope is many cancer deaths can be prevented. #GetFit launched on May 28th and runs for six weeks. Visit the website to see how you can get involved.

A copy of the research findings can be downloaded here . The research was conducted as part of GE Healthcare’s award-winning #GetFit public awareness cancer prevention campaign.

A larger version of the infographic can be viewed here.



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