A new report has revealed that the costs of battling cancer go far beyond the disease’s physical and emotional tolls. Speaking to a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Robin Whitney indicated that one third of American cancer survivors have significant financial impacts as a result of their disease. Whitney is a cancer survivor and a graduate student at the University of California, Davis School of Nursing, and she was lead author of one of several studies aimed at determining the extent of the financial burden imposed by cancer. “We found that many cancer survivors, particularly those who are younger or from underserved populations, experience financial or work-related hardship – even when insured and years out from treatment,” she said.
Based on interviews with over 1,500 cancer survivors, the researchers found that over 25% experienced debt or bankruptcy, with 37% indicating that their disease required significant changes to their work schedule or plans for retirement. Women, minorities, those without insurance and younger patients were most impacted. The study’s participants included those in active treatment as well as those less than five years post-treatment and others who were five or more years post-treatment. Hardest hit were those currently in treatment, those without insurance, and those younger than age 65.
Another, smaller study presented at the same meeting indicated that among a group of insured cancer patients who had requested co-payment assistance through a national program, 89 percent had needed to make at least one lifestyle change as a result of the financial impact of their illness, with those adjustments cited as including reduced spending on leisure activities or food and clothing and needing to either borrow money or dip into savings.
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Read the full article here: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20141022/many-americans-in-debt-bankruptcy-paying-for-cancer-care