(HealthDay News) — Survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer are more likely to report cost-related medication nonadherence, according to a study published online May 23 in Cancer.

Sapna Kaul, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 2013 to 2015 National Health Interview Survey. They identified 953 patients who were diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15 and 39 years; propensity scores were used to create a comparison group. Cost-related medication nonadherence was assessed and was determined by individuals’ report of skipping medication, taking less medication, or delaying filling medication to save money.

The researchers found that survivors were more likely than the comparison group to report nonadherence (23.8 versus 14.3 percent). In addition, the likelihood of reporting not being able to afford medication, asking for lower-cost medication, and using alternative therapies to save money in the previous year was higher among survivors. Compared with those privately insured, uninsured survivors were more likely to report nonadherence (odds ratio, 3.19). Nonadherence was reported more often by non-Hispanic black survivors, those who reported greater mental distress, and those with greater comorbidities compared with their counterparts. The risk of nonadherence was lower for survivors reporting a usual source of care than those without (odds ratio, 0.39).

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“Cost-related communication with survivors may be needed to increase medication adherence,” the authors write.

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