Study: Medical Financial Hardship Common in Adult Survivors of AYA Cancers

April 22, 2021
Jill Murphy, Associate Editor

The study further explored the various aspects of financial hardships, including material, psychological, and behavioral measures.

A new study finds higher medical financial hardship in adult survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers than in adults without a history of cancer in the United States, according to a study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although previous research has found that cancer and its treatment can cause significant financial hardship to survivors and their families, the long-term economic implications for adult survivors of AYA cancers were not fully understood. The study investigators used data from the National Health Interview Survey (2010-2018) and analyzed responses from adult survivors younger than 18 years of age of AYA cancers (age 15 to 39 at diagnosis) and adults without a cancer history.

The study further explored the various aspects of financial hardships, including material, psychological, and behavioral measures. A key finding was that adult survivors of AYA cancers were more likely than adults without a cancer history to report material and behavioral financial hardship, including problems paying medical bills or delaying or forgoing care because of cost.

In addition, adult survivors of AYA cancers were more likely to report greater intensity of medical financial hardship than their counterparts without a cancer history and to report cost-related medication non-adherence, such as skipping medication doses and taking less medication.

“Multiple aspects of financial hardship associated with a cancer diagnosis may last for many years for survivors of AYA cancers,” said Zhiyuan “Jason” Zheng, PhD, American Cancer Society, in the press release.

The study authors added that health care providers can help support increased awareness and assessment of financial hardship, as well as subsequent connection to existing financial and vocational assistance or support services.

“State and federal policies may have a broader impact through implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act in increasing insurance coverage options including affordability and accessibility,” the study authors said in the press release.

REFERENCE

Study finds medical financial hardship common in adult survivors of AYA cancers. American Cancer Society. Published April 12, 2021. Accessed April 16, 2021. http://pressroom.cancer.org/MedicalHardshipCSAYA