Economic and Social Burden of Childhood Cancer in Bangladesh

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Health Service Administration, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.

2 Health Economics and Finance Research Group, Sharjah Institute for Medical and Health Research, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.

3 Department of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.


Background: Cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This study aimed to investigate the scale and nature of the socio-economic burdens that face families of children with pediatric cancer in Bangladesh on a day-to-day basis and the reasons for delays in diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Methods: A cross-sectional exploratory study including 54 families in Bangladesh who had children with cancer. A structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data, supplemented by open-ended questions to gain in-depth information about specific issues. Results: The majority of children were male (n=39, 72.2%) and aged 6–15 (n=38, 70.4%). Blood cancer (n=20, 37%) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (n=25, 46.3%) were the most common diagnoses. Many parents stopped working after their child’s cancer diagnosis (n=28, 51.9%). Many families (n=21, 38.90%) spent more per month (e.g., USD 471–1,179) on their child’s treatment than their income. No external financial support was available to cover this high expenditure, putting families under financial pressure. Social issues included fear, lack of cancer awareness, stigma in rural communities, low-quality facilities, inappropriate service provider behavior, poor facility hygiene, and high fees. Conclusion: This study revealed that childhood cancer has a substantial impact on parents’ socioeconomic status, and many families face financial, social, and psychological challenges. This highlights the need for urgent collaborative action to address these problems. 


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