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Financial Toxicity More Prevalent for ASCVD Than Cancer Patients

Odds up for any difficulty paying medical bills, inability to pay bills, cost-related meds nonadherence, food insecurity with ASCVD versus cancer

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TUESDAY, June 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Financial toxicity (FT) is more prevalent among individuals with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) than individuals with cancer, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of JACC: CardioOncology.

Javier Valero-Elizondo, M.D., M.P.H., from the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Texas, and colleagues compared FT for individuals with ASCVD only, cancer only, both ASCVD and cancer, and neither ASCVD nor cancer using data from the National Health Interview Survey. FT was defined as any difficulty paying medical bills, high financial distress, cost-related medication nonadherence, food insecurity, and/or foregone/delayed care due to cost.

The researchers found that compared with those with cancer, the prevalence of FT was higher among those with ASCVD (54 versus 41 percent). In adjusted analyses, when studying individual components of FT, those with ASCVD had increased odds of any difficulty paying medical bills, inability to pay bills, cost-related medication nonadherence, food insecurity, and foregone/delayed care due to cost (odds ratios, 1.22, 1.25, 1.28, 1.39, and 1.17, respectively). Compared with individuals with cancer only, those with ASCVD and with ASCVD and cancer had a significantly higher presence of three of more of these factors (23 and 30 percent, respectively, versus 13 percent).

"Cancer patients may have short bursts of high expenditures for treatments, while heart disease patients are often incurring a more chronic economic burden due to drug costs, procedures, clinician visits, and hospital stays," a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, medical technology, and health insurance industries.

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