AACR: Many Cancer Survivors Forgo Medical Care

Over 1 million decline care because of cost; minorities more likely not to receive needed care

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1 million U.S. cancer survivors are forgoing necessary health care because of cost concerns, and Hispanic and non-Hispanic black survivors are especially likely to decline needed care, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities held Feb. 3 to 6 in Carefree, Ariz.

Kathryn Weaver, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from the 2003-2006 U.S. National Health Interview Survey and identified 6,602 adult cancer survivors, including non-Hispanic whites (88.8 percent), Hispanics (4.8 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (6.4 percent).

Overall, the researchers found that significant numbers of survivors avoided general medical care (7.8 percent), prescription medications (9.9 percent), dental care (11.3 percent) and mental health care (2.7 percent) due to cost concerns. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, they found that Hispanics were more likely to forgo general medical care (odds ratio, 1.55) and that Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks were more likely to forgo prescription medications (ORs, 2.14 and 1.87, respectively) and dental care (ORs, 2.31 and 1.57, respectively).

"Future research needs to examine the impact of forgoing care on survivors' long-term physical and mental well-being and survival," the authors conclude.

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