Black cancer survivors are more likely than whites to wind up in debt or forego treatment due to cost, a new study finds (Source: “Cancer Treatment More Likely to Leave Blacks in Debt,” HealthDay News, Sept. 25, 2016).
Researchers focused on 1,000 cancer survivors between the ages of 20 and 79 who were diagnosed and/or treated at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. All had survived an initial diagnosis of breast, colon, lung or prostate cancer. They answered questions about the financial impact of their treatment and their socioeconomic status.
So far, 695 people have participated in the study, including 414 black survivors. Overall, about 52 percent of the participants were facing some type of financial stress related to their treatment. That included about 57 percent of blacks and 47 percent of whites.
The study revealed that 31 percent of the black patients went into debt for their treatment, compared to 18 percent of whites. Black cancer survivors were also more likely to have made some treatment decisions based on cost concerns, such as avoiding an office visit or skipping doses of prescribed medicines. Such cost-cutting moves were made by 21 percent of black survivors, compared to about 15 percent of whites.