This paper studies the spillover effect of a major non-communicable health shock, namely a cancer diagnosis (CD), on the health and wellbeing of their partners, both in the short and in the long term.
We draw data from a longitudinal sample of Europeans aged over 50 residing in 19 different countries. Our estimates document evidence of economically relevant family spillover effects of a CD on the partner's mental health and wellbeing. We show that these effects are stronger in the short term but some survive in the long term, and do not appear to be driven by changes in health behaviors. This evidence suggests that previous estimates of cancer costs are likely to underestimate the long-term welfare effects of alternative cancer treatments and carry policy implications for the design of labor market policies.