Cancer: check your privilege!
Speaker: Chris McCabe (Institute for Health Economics)
Date: 6 April 2018
Conference: What Is so Special About Cancer? Perspectives from Clinical Research, Philosophy and Social Sciences
The UK Cancer Drugs Fund is just one example of a policy response that provides people with cancer a privileged call on limited health care resources. Most developed health care systems have created instituted policies that directly or indirectly maintain the privilege status of people with cancer. In this paper I briefly review examples of ‘cancer privilege policies’ from around the world. I then summarize the key arguments that have been advanced in the clinical and health policy literature to justify cancer’s privileged status. I then relate these to justifications to the emerging evidence on social values in health care resource allocation, and comment on the challenge that these data present to cancer privilege. In the final section of the paper I examine cancer privilege through the lens of horizontal and vertical equity, and ask whether it is time, in interests of fairness, to check cancer’s privilege.
• This event was sponsored by the Limits of the Numerical Research Project at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, with generous support from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF).