Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has designated the first full week of April as National Public Health Week, a time to appreciate the issues that impact our overall well-being as a nation.
This year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money,” and AICR applauds its focus on prevention as a key strategy to make diseases like cancer more rare, and less costly — whether those costs are measured in dollars or in human lives.
The National Institutes of Health has crunched the numbers, based on 2008 data. How much does cancer cost the nation financially each year?
Total cost: $201.5 billion
Direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures): $77.4 billion
Indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death): $124 billion
AICR estimates that roughly one in three cancers could be prevented simply by making healthier choices about what we eat and how much we move.
So that’s roughly $67 billion dollars in total costs each year that we could be spending in other areas that improve American life overall: investing in our children’s education and building the kind of community infrastructure that makes it easier to make healthy choices.
Getting Out the Message
All levels of society — government, businesses, health professionals, schools and universities, and individuals — will need to work together to make those savings possible. But it starts with knowledge — with giving people the tools and information they need to start making changes.
Here at AICR, we’ve developed several different e-publications that speak to different audiences about lowering cancer risk. Later, we’ll take you behind the scenes of our biggest and longest-running e-publication, AICR eNEWS.