8 Nov 2009

High price of skin cancer revealed

2:11 pm on 8 November 2009

Skin cancer is costing New Zealand more than $120 million a year, a report for the Cancer Society reveals.

It says there were 371 deaths in 2005 from melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, up from 339 in 2000.

Health economist Des O'Dea of the Wellington School of Medicine calculated that if these persons were still alive in 2006, they would have made an estimated contribution of $66 million to the economy.

Mr O'Dea's report also says health-care costs of skin cancer have increased to $57 million for 2006, from $33 million in 1998.

This is in stark contrast to the $2 million Mr O'Dea says is spent annually on community prevention measures such as the Cancer Society's sun-smart campaign and the Health Sponsorship Council.

He says the report provides a good case for the society to push for more government funding.