Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the second most prevalent carcinogenic exposure in Canada and is similarly important in other countries with large Caucasian populations. The objective of this article was to estimate the economic burden associated with newly diagnosed non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) attributable to occupational solar radiation exposure. Key cost categories considered were direct costs (healthcare costs, out-of-pocket costs (OOPCs), and informal caregiver costs); indirect costs (productivity/output costs and home production costs); and intangible costs (monetary value of the loss of health-related quality of life (HRQoL)). To generate the burden estimates, we used secondary data from multiple sources applied to computational methods developed from an extensive review of the literature. An estimated 2,846 (5.3%) of the 53,696 newly diagnosed cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and 1,710 (9.2%) of the 18,549 newly diagnosed cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in 2011 in Canada were attributable to occupational solar radiation exposure. The combined total for direct and indirect costs of occupational NMSC cases is $28.9 million ($15.9 million for BCC and $13.0 million for SCC), and for intangible costs is $5.7 million ($0.6 million for BCC and $5.1 million for SCC). On a per-case basis, the total costs are $5,670 for BCC and $10,555 for SCC. The higher per-case cost for SCC is largely a result of a lower survival rate, and hence higher indirect and intangible costs. Our estimates can be used to raise awareness of occupational solar UV exposure as an important causal factor in NMSCs and can highlight the importance of occupational BCC and SCC among other occupational cancers.
Keywords: Direct costs; NMSCs; economic burden; health-related quality of life; indirect costs; intangible costs; occupational cancer.