A cost analysis of a community-based support centre for cancer patients and their families in Ireland: the EVeCANs study

Support Care Cancer. 2021 Feb;29(2):619-625. doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05508-8. Epub 2020 May 15.


Cancer patients and their families experience a range of physical, psychological and financial adverse effects. Community-based cancer centres offer a range of services and interventions, free of charge, to support those affected by cancer. While shown to be effective, there is a lack of information on the costs of these services. Our aim was to estimate the resource impact of a community-based cancer support centre. Over a 7-month period, there were 2032 contacts with 238 clients whose average age was 60 years. The most frequently used services were transport to treatment (20%), complementary therapies (48%), exercise classes (10%) and counselling (9%). This cost analysis estimated total annual cost to provide all services was €313,744. Average annual cost per person was €1138. Current uptake at the centre represents 8% of all cancer incidences in seven counties surrounding the centre. If uptake increases by 10%, scenario analyses predict an increase in total costs increase to €429,043 and a decrease in costs per patient to €915. As cancer incidences increase, the need for supportive care is growing. Community-based services have been established to meet these needs and fill this gap in national health services. Long-term sustainability of these centres is uncertain as they are entirely reliant on donations and volunteers. This analysis estimates the costs of one such community-based cancer support centre, for the first time in Ireland. Findings can be used to inform future planning of cancer supportive care services, including establishing links between tertiary and community-based centres, and cost effectiveness analyses, nationally and internationally.

Keywords: Community; Costs; Families; Patients; Support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cancer Care Facilities / economics*
  • Cancer Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Complementary Therapies / economics
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Counseling / economics
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / economics*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*