Benefit cost analysis of three skin cancer public education mass-media campaigns implemented in New South Wales, Australia
Public education mass media campaigns are an important intervention for influencing behaviour modifications. However, evidence on the effectiveness of such campaigns to encourage the population to reduce sun exposure is limited.
This study investigates the benefits and costs of three skin cancer campaigns implemented in New South Wales from 2006–2013.
This analysis uses Australian dollars (AUD) and 2010–11 as the currency and base year, respectively. Historical data on skin cancer were used to project skin cancer rates for the period 2006–2020. The expected number of skin cancer cases is derived by combining skin cancer rates, sunburn rates and relative risk of skin cancers due to sun exposure. Counterfactual estimates are based on sunburn exposure in the absence of the campaigns. Monetary values are attached to direct (treatment) and indirect (productivity) costs saved due to fewer skin cancer cases. Monetary benefits are compared with the cost of implementing the campaigns and are presented in the form of a benefit-cost ratio.
Relative to the counterfactual (i.e., no campaigns) there are an estimated 13,174 fewer skin cancers and 112 averted deaths over the period 2006–2013. The net present value of these benefits is $60.17 million and the campaign cost is $15.63 million. The benefit cost ratio is 3.85, suggesting that for every $1 invested a return of $3.85 is achieved.
Skin cancer public education mass media campaigns are a good investment given the likely extent to which they reduce the morbidity, mortality and economic burden of skin cancer.