An increasing number of cancer survivors in the US are delaying or skipping critical medical care due to the cost of treatment, a new study has found.
The report published in Cancer, an American Cancer Society journal, said that cost concerns pose a threat to cancer survivors, especially with the introduction of new life-prolonging treatments.
The direct costs of cancer have risen from $27bn in 1990 to more than $90bn in 2008.
The report includes data from the US National Health Interview Survey from 2003 to 2006, which is based on a sample of 6,602 adult cancer survivors and 104,364 people without a cancer diagnosis.
Nearly 18% of cancer survivors – which would equal an estimated two million people in the US – skipped one or more medical services because of cost concerns.
According to the survey, 7.8% of cancer survivors skipped medical care, 9.9% skipped prescription medications, 11.3% dental care and 2.7% mental health care.
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Survivors under the age of 65 were 1.5 to two times more likely to have declined or delayed medical treatment.
Black and Hispanic cancer survivors were more likely to skip prescription drugs and dental care than white survivors, the study added.