Background: Increasing incidence of and mortality from skin cancer are posing a large financial burden on the NHS in England. Information provided by cost-of-illness (CoI) studies are used in policy making and are particularly useful for measuring the potential savings from averting a case of disease.
Methods: We estimate the cost of skin cancer in England, and model future costs up to 2020. We compare two costing approaches (top-down and bottom-up).
Results: We estimate that costs due to skin cancer were in the range of £106-£112 million in 2008. These figures are very closely related to those provided by the Department of Health (estimated to be £104.0 million in 2007-8 and £105.2 million 2008-9). The expected cost per case of malignant melanoma was estimated to be £2607 and £2560, using the bottom-up and top-down approaches, respectively. The mean cost per case of non-melanoma skin cancer was £889 and £1226, respectively. We estimate that the cost to the NHS due to skin cancer will amount to over £180 million in 2020.
Conclusion: Effective prevention of skin cancer might not only reduce a significant burden of disease but it could also save considerable resources to the NHS.
Keywords: burden of disease; cost; cost of illness; skin cancer.