(HealthDay News) — Almost half of young women with a breast cancer diagnosis experience financial decline, according to a study published in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Florence K.L. Tangka, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited 830 women younger than 40 years old diagnosed with breast cancer between January 2013 and December 2014 to examine insurance, employment, and financial experiences and factors associated with financial decline.

The researchers found that 92.5 percent of the respondents were continuously insured during the past year, but 9.5 percent paid a “higher price than expected” for coverage. Among the 73.4 percent of respondents who were employed at diagnosis, common concerns included increased paid or unpaid time off (55.1 and 47.3 percent, respectively), suffering job performance (23.2 percent), and staying at or avoiding changing jobs (30.2 and 23.5 percent, respectively) for health insurance purposes. As a result of treatment-related costs, 47.0 percent experienced financial decline. The most vulnerable were patients with some college education, multiple comorbidities, late-stage diagnoses, and self-funded insurance.

“Even though patients and physicians understand the importance of having discussions about the economic burden of cancer, such conversations seldom occur,” Tangka said in a statement. “Cancer patients may not have choices in all aspects of cancer care, but if they have information on the duration of treatment and how much they need to pay out of pocket, they can plan better.”

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