Study reveals financial hardships in American cancer survivors face post-treatment

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 15 (ANI): A recent study has discovered that many American cancer survivors, particularly those sixty-four or younger in age, who faced financial difficulties after the medical treatment, had to make economical sacrifices.

The study has been published in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

The author of the study Xuesong Han, PhD, senior principal scientist in Health Services Research at the American Cancer Society, said as there is an increase in the number of people who are diagnosed of cancer, so is there a rise in the costs of cancer treatment.

Han said: "There is a growing need for financial intervention at multiple levels to help cancer survivors minimise their risk of financial hardship ... We hope our findings will inform the development of future health policies and interventions in care delivery."

In the United States, the number of cancer survivors has increased by a range of 1.4 million people in the past three years, reaching more than 16.9 million as of January 1, 2019.

Many previous studies have addressed the issue of the rise in the number of cancer survivors, which eventually lead to an increase in medical treatment.

However, a few studies have examined the intensity of financial hardship across multiple domains, or sacrifices made as a result of cancer treatment and its longer-term effects.

The study had data of participants who detailed the effects of their cancer, treatment, and how post-treatment had affected their finances, health insurance coverage, and employment status.

Paying medical bills, financial distress, and delaying medical care due to cost concerns are some of the financial hardships the survivours had to face.

Hans and his team took the case of under 65 participants as the people over the age of 65 years are generally eligible for medicare insurance

Half of the participants reported facing medical financial hardships as a result of cancer diagnosis, while the other half made financial sacrifices in spending, saving and living.

Nearly a quarter reported trouble paying medical bills, needing to borrow money, or filing for bankruptcy due to cancer diagnosis and treatment. More than 40 percent were worried about finances and almost 30 per cent were worried about forgoing or delaying care because of cost concerns.

Hans commented: "Overall, health insurance coverage is critically important for cancer patients and survivors. Even those who had private insurance coverage reported financial hardship, suggesting that the types of coverage and extent of patient cost-sharing are important too."

Han also explained that financial hardships can lead to a worse quality of life, which can lead to bankruptcy. This can take an emotional toll and can bring an increased risk of death.

The researchers defined measures of insurance coverage, family income and also suggested flexible workplace accommodations with the availability of paid and unpaid sick leave. (ANI)