Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, among which, oral cancer is associated with significant morbidity, and low survival. A large part of the budget allocated to health care is attributed to cancer. In this study we aim to estimate the economic burden of oral cancer in Iran for the year 2014.


In this study, we generated a prevalence-based estimate of the cost-of-illness of oral cancer in Iran. A societal perspective was used for this study, in which the direct costs and productivity losses of oral cancer cases in 2014 were estimated. The human capital approach was adopted for estimating productivity losses. Several data sources contributed to this study, including national cancer registry reports, hospital records, occupational data, and interviews with experts.


Nearly 53% of patients were diagnosed in an advanced stage of oral cancer. The economic burden of oral cancer was $64,245,173 most of which (50%) was attributed to productivity losses. The direct medical cost accounted for 42% of the estimated total cost. Treatment expenses for advanced stages were five times higher than the early stages ($10,532 vs. $2,225).


The economic burden of oral cancer is high in Iran. Planning an early detection and screening program for oral cancer may potentially decrease health care costs, morbidity, and mortality.


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