Improved Access to Care Reported by Cancer Survivors

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Researchers used data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine health care access for cancer survivors.
Researchers used data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine health care access for cancer survivors.

(HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors are more likely to have difficulty accessing and affording health care, but the proportion reporting these issues is decreasing, according to a study published online March 29 in JAMA Oncology.

Ryan D. Nipp, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine health care access and affordability for cancer survivors and controls. Participants aged 18 years or older were categorized as cancer survivors (15,182) and those with no history of cancer (15,182 controls).

The researchers found that cancer survivors were more likely to report delayed care, forgone medical care, and/or inability to afford medications and health care services than controls, in multivariable models (odds ratios, 1.38, 1.76, 1.77, and 1.46, respectively). The proportion of survivors reporting delayed medical care decreased each year from 2010 to 2016; there was also a decrease in the proportion of those needing and not getting medical care each year. Decreases were also seen in the proportion of cancer survivors who reported being unable to afford prescription medication and in the proportion of those unable to afford at least one of six services each year.

"Our findings suggest incremental improvement in health care access and affordability after recent health care reform and provide an important benchmark as additional changes are likely to occur in the coming years," the authors write.

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