Patients and Caregivers Worry About Cost of Cancer Care

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A majority of patients and caregivers cite finances as a source of anxiety.
A majority of patients and caregivers cite finances as a source of anxiety.

(HealthDay News) -- In addition to fear of pain and suffering, Americans worry about cancer-related expenses, according to the results of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 National Cancer Opinion Survey.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey online on behalf of ASCO during July 10 through Aug. 10, 2018. The sample included 4,038 U.S. adults aged >18 years and an oversample of 849 adults with cancer for a total of 1,001 adults with cancer.

The researchers found that a majority of adults have a concern about developing cancer in their lifetime (58 percent), a decrease from 63 percent in 2017. Many respondents feel most cancers are caused by lifestyle choices (33 percent) and, increasingly, environmental factors (12 percent), with 80 percent believing that smoking is the biggest risk factor. Those who have seen someone go through cancer either as a loved one or caregiver report that fear of suffering or experiencing pain is their greatest concern about getting cancer, while nearly seven in 10 patients and caregivers say that finances cause anxiety. The vast majority of cancer patients (89 percent) believe they are receiving the best possible care, although nearly four in 10 respondents overall believe cancer can be cured with alternative treatments without standard cancer care.

"[The survey] revealed a number of critical areas we urgently need to address -- from correcting widespread misinformation about cancer treatments, to ensuring patients have access to the pain medication they need, to alleviating the financial distress both patients and their loved ones experience too frequently," ASCO president Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., said in a statement.

ASCO's National Cancer Opinion Survey

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