December 7, 2022

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DVHN Comments | More and more people are surviving cancer, but this has a price

All the ingredients for heart attack care are on the table, but there’s also good news: More and more people are surviving cancer.

The number of people diagnosed with cancer each year will increase by 32 percent to 156,000 in the next 10 years. That is, every hour eighteen people have a bad news conversation with their treating physician. Now there are fourteen.

This is what the Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Netherlands expects. This is mainly because there are more and more seniors getting older; double aging. This is given.

However, the second most important reason for the high growth of cancer patients can be affected: our lifestyle – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, weight gain and lack of exercise. Reports of skin cancer due to excessive sun exposure and/or tanning beds will also increase. Prevention through healthier living campaigns and taxation of unhealthy items (tobacco, alcoholic beverages, snacks) can help but only part of the problem.

There is also good news: more and more people are surviving cancer. This is especially true for people with prostate, breast or skin cancer. Within ten years, 1 in 13 Dutch people will have cancer or cancer.

Of course there is a price. Healthcare costs for this group of patients will rise from 6.5 to 14.2 billion euros annually. Total healthcare costs will rise to a quarter of GDP in 2060, according to the RIVM index calculated in 2020. That’s double what it is now. Instead of 15% of working Dutch, 33% work in the care sector.

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It is not without reason that there is talk of an imminent collapse of health care: understaffing, insufficient funds, and dwindling support to pay for expensive health insurance. The Scientific Council for Government Policy has previously indicated that solidarity is under pressure.

The solution cannot be summed up in one answer, which was made clear again last month when Health Minister Ernst Kuipers presented his sponsorship agreement. It’s not really a deal because, say, general practitioners haven’t signed it up and there’s also a lot of criticism in the House. However, something, or rather a lot, needs to be done to keep the care manageable on the one hand and treat the patient properly on the other.