Navigation Links
Cost-Conscious Cancer Survivors Skip Care
Date:6/14/2010

Research suggests millions are going without needed medical services

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans with a history of cancer, particularly people under age 65, are delaying or skimping on medical care because of worries about the cost of treatment, a new study suggests.

The finding raises troubling questions about the long-term survival and quality of life of the 12 million adults in the United States whose lives have been forever changed by a diagnosis of cancer.

"I think it's concerning because we recognize that cancer survivors have many medical needs that persist for years after their diagnosis and treatment," said study lead author Kathryn E. Weaver, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The report was published online June 14 in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

Cost concerns have posed a threat to cancer survivorship for some time, particularly with the advent of new, life-prolonging treatments.

Dr. Patricia Ganz, a professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, served on the Institute of Medicine committee that wrote the 2005 report, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition.

"One of the things that we really emphasized was lack of insurance, particularly for follow-up care," she said.

CancerCare, a New York City-based nonprofit support group for cancer patients, provides co-payment assistance for certain cancer medications.

"Cancer is a vey expensive disease and it's becoming more and more expensive," said Jeanie M. Barnett, CancerCare's director of communications. "The costs of the drugs are going up. So, too, is the proportion that the patient pays out of pocket," she said.

A March 17 commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, titled "Cancer's Next Frontier -- Addressing High and Increasing Costs," reported that the direct costs of cancer had swelled from $27 billion in 1990 to more than $90 billion in 2008.

The new study attempts to tease out the prevalence of forgoing medical care due to financial concerns.

"We've known for a long time that cancer can have a negative impact on the financial health of survivors," Weaver explained, "but we didn't know what implications this financial stress might have for their ongoing medical care, even long after their diagnosis."

To explore that issue, the researchers used data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey from 2003 to 2006. The findings are based on a sample of 6,602 adult cancer survivors and 104,364 people without a cancer diagnosis.

Among cancer survivors, the prevalence of forgoing care in the past year due to cost concerns was 7.8 percent for medical care, 9.9 percent for prescription medications, 11.3 percent for dental care and 2.7 percent for mental health care.

Nearly 18 percent of cancer survivors -- an estimated 2 million Americans -- went without one or more medical services because of financial concerns. Younger survivors, under age 65, were one-and-a-half to two times more likely to forgo or delay medical services, the study revealed.

And black and Hispanic cancer survivors were more likely to forgo prescription drugs and dental care than white survivors, the study found.

What procedures or treatments are cancer survivors skipping? The data wasn't that specific, Weaver explained, "so it's hard to judge: Was it a routine test? Was it for cardiovascular problems? Or was it a test that might pick up a cancer recurrence?"

Nevertheless, the study does raise questions about the health of cancer survivors. "Certainly that's going to impact your quality of life regardless of whether it's cancer-specific or not," Weaver said.

What's needed is better guidance on follow-up care so that cancer survivors get essential services and avoid unnecessary tests and procedures, Ganz said.

And, added Weaver, the medical system needs to do a better job of counseling patients about financial barriers to care. "Instead of [patients] saying, 'Well, you know, I can't afford this medication,' they just may not fill it. So I think it needs to become part of the conversation."

The new federal health reform legislation may help address the gap in follow-up care by making insurance coverage more available and affordable, Ganz said.

More information

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more on managing the cost of cancer care.



SOURCES: Kathryn E. Weaver, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Patricia Ganz, M.D., professor, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles; Jeanie M. Barnett, director of communications, CancerCare, New York City; March 17, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association; June 14, 2010, Cancer, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New Research From EBRI: Consumer-Driven Health Plan Participants Display Cost-Conscious Behavior, Utilize Wellness Programs
2. Are dead cancer cells feeding cancers spread?
3. Study reveals causes of survival disparities based on insurance among rectal cancer patients
4. Cost concerns prevent many cancer survivors from getting medical care
5. University Hospitals Case Medical Center cardiologists discover cancer risks in blood pressure meds
6. Popular cancer drug can cause kidney damage
7. Making cancer killers
8. New study finds strong association between smoking and flat precancerous polyps
9. Diabetes may double cancer risk in women
10. Late-stage ovarian cancer shows promise in 2-drug phase I trial
11. Study shows Hodgkin lymphoma survivors lack post-treatment screening for other cancers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health ... of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards ... at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events ... turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. ... tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension ... that it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to ... its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce they ... to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers provides ... life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue of ... in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of leading ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the efforts ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 Roche ... received 510(k) clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) ... severe sepsis or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche ... provide a fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment ... associated with bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced ... launch of Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first ... of possibilities for IoT devices.      (Photo: ... Oticon introduces a number of ,world firsts,: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: