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Costs Thwart Continued Care for Many Cancer Patients

Among survivors, 7.8 percent forgo medical care, 9.9 percent forgo prescriptions due to costs

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Many cancer survivors delay or forgo medical care due to cost, and cancer survivors under 65 are more likely to put off or forgo care than those without a history of cancer, according to research published online June 14 in Cancer.

Kathryn E. Weaver, Ph.D., of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues examined data on 6,602 cancer survivors and 104,364 healthy individuals without a history of cancer who were part of the U.S. National Health Interview Survey from 2003 to 2006.

The researchers found a prevalence of 7.8, 9.9, 11.3, and 2.7 percent of cancer survivors forgoing medical care, prescription medicine, dental care, and mental health care, respectively, due to cost. Compared to healthy adults, cancer survivors under 65 were more likely to delay or forgo all types of care; Hispanic and black cancer survivors were more likely than whites to forgo prescription medications and dental care. However, disparities among cancer survivors mostly reflected those in the general population.

"More than two million U.S. cancer survivors did not get one or more needed medical services because of financial concerns during the studied period. Future research needs to examine the impact of forgoing care on survivors' quality of life and survival," the authors write.

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