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Survivors of Adolescent, Young Adult Cancer Face Financial Hardships

THURSDAY, April 22, 2021 -- Adult survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers are more likely to experience medical financial hardship compared with adults without a cancer history, according to a study published online April 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Amy D. Lu, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues used data from the 2010 to 2018 National Health Interview Surveys to identify 2,588 adult survivors of AYA cancers (diagnosed at ages 15 to 39 years) and 256,964 adults without a cancer history.

Seventy-five percent of AYA cancer survivors were still alive at more than six years after diagnosis, and 50.0 percent were still alive at more than 16 years. The researchers found that survivors were more likely to report at least one hardship measure in material (e.g., paying bills) and behavioral (e.g., forgoing care due to cost) domains. They were also more likely to report hardship in all three domains (material, psychological, and behavioral). Furthermore, survivors were more likely to report at least one cost-related prescription medication nonadherence behavior.

"Health care providers must recognize this inequity and its impact on survivors' health, and multifaceted interventions are necessary to address underlying causes," the authors write.

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