It is crucial to understand how 'economic changes affect cancer survival,' the study's lead author said. " Over eight million people die from cancer annually, according to the WHO.
A study published in the Lancet medical journal has linked hundreds of thousands of cancer-related deaths to the global financial crisis of 2008 through to 2010, during which unemployment rose and public spending was slashed in several countries.
"We estimate that the 2008 to 2010 economic crisis was associated with about 260,000 excess cancer-related deaths in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) alone," said the study, which was conducted by Mahiben Maruthappu of Imperial College London's faculty of medicine and colleagues.
The study suggests that universal health care could have prevented many of what they deem "excess" deaths.
"Unemployment increases are associated with rises in cancer mortality; universal health care seems to protect against this effect," the study added.
Maruthappu told AFP news agency that the actual number of deaths may have been higher since the study specifically looked at OECD countries.
"This suggests that there could have been well over 500,000 excess cancer deaths worldwide during this time," said Maruthappu.
"Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, so understanding how economic changes affect cancer survival is crucial," he added.
According to the World Health Organization, 8.2 million across the globe died from cancer in 2012.