Background: High-risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is an established cause of malignant disease. We used a societal perspective to estimate the cost of HR HPV-related cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile precancer and cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer in Sweden in 2006, 1 year before HPV vaccination became available in the country.
Materials and methods: This prevalence-based cost-of-illness study used diagnosis-specific data from national registries to determine the number of HR HPV-related precancers and cancers. The HR HPV-attributable fractions of these diseases were derived from a literature review and applied to the total burden to estimate HR HPV-attributable costs. Direct costs were based on health care utilization and indirect costs on loss of productivity due to morbidity (i.e., sick leave and early retirement) and premature mortality.
Results: The total annual cost of all HR HPV-attributable precancers and cancers was €94 million (€10.3/inhabitant). Direct costs accounted for €31.3 million (€3.4/inhabitant) of the total annual cost, and inpatient care amounted to €20.7 million of direct costs. Indirect costs made up €62.6 million (€6.9/inhabitant) of the total annual cost, and premature mortality amounted to €36 million of indirect costs. Cervical precancer and cancer was most costly (total annual cost €58.4 million). Among cancers affecting both genders, anal precancer and cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer were the most costly (€11.2 million and €11.9 million, respectively). For oropharyngeal cancer, males had the highest health care utilization and represented 71% of the total annual cost. Penile precancer and cancer was least costly (€2.6 million).
Conclusion: The economic burden of HR HPV-related precancers and cancers is substantial. The disease-related management and treatment costs we report are relevant as a point of reference for future economic evaluations investigating the overall benefits of HPV vaccination in females and males in Sweden.