Race, financial hardship, and limiting care due to cost in a diverse cohort of cancer survivors

Hastert, T. A., Banegas, M. P., Hamel, L. M., Reed, A. R., Baird, T., Beebe-Dimmer, J. L., Schwartz, A. G.

PURPOSE: Estimate prevalence of types of cancer-related financial hardship by race and test whether they are associated with limiting care due to cost. METHODS: We used data from 994 participants (411 white, 583 African American) in a hospital-based cohort study of survivors diagnosed with breast, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer since January 1, 2013. Financial hardship included decreased income, borrowing money, cancer-related debt, and accessing assets to pay for cancer care. Limiting care included skipping doses of prescribed medication, refusing treatment, or not seeing a doctor when needed due to cost. Logistic regression models controlled for sociodemographic factors. RESULTS: More African American than white survivors reported financial hardship (50.3% vs. 41.0%, p = 0.005) and limiting care (20.0% vs. 14.2%, p = 0.019). More white than African American survivors reported utilizing assets (9.3% vs. 4.8%, p = 0.006), while more African American survivors reported cancer-related debt (30.5% vs. 18.5%, p < 0.001). Survivors who experienced financial hardship were 4.4 (95% CI: 2.9, 6.6) times as likely to limit care as those who did not. Borrowing money, cancer-related debt, and decreased income were each independently associated with limiting care, while accessing assets was not. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of some forms of financial hardship differed by race, and these were differentially associated with limiting care due to cost. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: The ability to use assets to pay for cancer care may protect survivors from limiting care due to cost. This has differential impacts on white and African American survivors.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2019
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