An estimate of the cost of treating non-melanoma skin cancer in the state of São Paulo, Brazil

January 2, 2011


The most common form of cancer in Brazil is non-melanoma skin cancer, which affects approximately 0.06% of the population. There are no public policies for its prevention and the economic impact of its diagnosis has yet to be established.


To estimate the costs of the diagnosis and treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer in the state of São Paulo between 2000 and 2007 and to compare them with the costs associated with skin melanoma in the same period.


The Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) was used as a procedure model, adapted to the procedures at the SOBECCan Foundation at the Ribeirão Preto Cancer Hospital in São Paulo. The estimated costs were based on the costs of medical treatment in the public and private sectors in 2007.


The mean annual costs of each individual treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer were much lower than those estimated for the treatment of skin melanoma. Nevertheless, when the total costs of the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer were taken into consideration, it was found that the total cost of the 42,184 cases of this type of cancer in São Paulo within the study period was 14% higher than the costs of the 2,740 cases of skin melanoma registered in the same period within the Brazilian National Health Service (SUS). However, in the private sector, the total cost was approximately 34% less for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer compared to melanoma.


The high number of cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in Brazil, with 114,000 new cases predicted for 2010, 95% of which are diagnosed at early stages, represents a financial burden to the public and private healthcare systems of around R$37 million and R$26 million annually, respectively.

Souza RJ, Mattedi AP, Corrêa MP, Rezende ML & Ferreira AC.

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