• +1 700 888 1234

  • Effingerstrasse 40 3008 Bern Switzerland

Financial impact of lung cancer: A European perspective

High risk of financial vulnerability after diagnosis: 

The majority of people impacted by lung cancer experience higher costs and reduction in income 

Brussels, November 29th, 2023 – Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE) today launched the 8th LuCE Report entitled ‘Financial impact of lung cancer: A European perspective’. The event was hosted by Mr. István Ujhelyi, MEP (Member of the European Parliament) and co-chair of the MEP Lung Health Group. The LuCE Report is an annual initiative led by the umbrella Patient organizations and its members, across Europe with the purpose of raising awareness relating to the main challenges faced by people impacted by lung cancer.  

 The 8th LuCE report explores the economic burden of lung cancer, as reported by people diagnosed with lung cancer and caregivers. Data was collected through a self-filled online survey (May 26th – July 5th 2023) which was completed by 1,161 participants (834 people diagnosed with lung cancer and 327 caregivers) in the WHO European Region. Our research suggests that financial toxicity is common among people impacted by lung cancer and yet only a minority of participants stated that there were benefits for people with cancer and caregivers in their country. 

 Anne-Marie Baird, President of LuCE commented: 

“This 8th LuCE report is sobering reading, making it clear that financial toxicity impacts all spheres of life including adherence to treatment. Financial difficulties must be screened for at diagnosis, with programmes put in place to support those at risk of financial vulnerability’’.  

The cost of lung cancer and financial distress 

  • Most participants experienced both medical (73.5%) and non-medical expenses (87.2%) because of lung cancer.  The costs reported most often were travel for medical reasons (83.7%), household utility bills such as telephone or heating (77.3%), and personal items such as dressings, bandages, and creams (72.3%). 
  • 62.9% reported reduced household income since diagnosis. Half (49.5%) experienced a decrease of more than 30% in their income compared to their situation prior to the diagnosis. 1 out of 4 mentioned inability to work as one of the reasons for the decrease in income, followed by work absences (27.9%) and retirement due to illness (26.8%). 
  • 66.7% reported financial challenges as a result of the disease. These difficulties were more frequently reported by caregivers (77.9%) than patients (62.3%).  The findings show that 21.2% of participants needed more than 30% of their household income to pay for expenses related to lung cancer. 
  • Expenses related to lung cancer impacted finances in such a way that, according to our research, 45.7% had difficulties paying costs associated with lung cancer. Consequently, 36.8% of people found it difficult to live on their household income. 

I was hospitalized for 25 days due to a complication. There were many expenses for the family who had to visit me. It was far from home and train tickets are expensive. (Quote from a person with lung cancer from Denmark) 

Repercussions of financial stress and support  

  • 88.4% of participants experiencing financial difficulties pointed out that, at least, one sphere of their lives was negatively affected by economic repercussions. The main repercussions reported were in mental health (67.5%), and lifestyle and social activities (59.0%).  
  • The majority of participants with financial difficulties (82.1%) perceived these as a barrier to treatment, recovery, and care. 
  • Our findings show that 26.5% of people impacted by lung cancer made a decision that affected their self-care or adherence to treatment due to economic reasons. 
  • Only 1 out 5 survey respondents had sought financial support from public health (21.6%) or social services (20.6%). However, nearly 30% and 41%, respectively, did not receive the needed assistance. 
  • Support for costs related to medication and healthcare was identified as the financial support most needed (53.0%)  

My husband makes decisions for treatment based on not impacting his family financially after he is gone. (Quote from a caregiver from the United Kingdom)

Call to action 

  • Healthcare teams should screen for financial toxicity and provide programmes to assist with costs if financial vulnerability is detected. 
  • Authorities should increase income replacement programme coverage for people unable to work because of lung cancer or caregiving.


 The full report and the executive summary are accessible here:

 8th Edition of the LuCE Report – Financial impact of lung cancer: A European perspective – Lung Cancer Europe