Survivors of cancer tend to experience more material and psychological financial hardship when compared with those who have not received a cancer diagnosis, according to a recent study.1

Investigators sought to estimate the prevalence of financial hardship linked to a cancer diagnosis in the United States as well as common characteristics found in those who experience it.

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A total of 1202 adult cancer survivors were identified from the 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Experiences With Cancer questionnaire. The following criteria were used to identify hardship: borrowing money or going into debt, filing for bankruptcy, the inability to pay one’s share of medical costs, or making other financial sacrifices due to a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and lasting effects. 

Material financial hardship as well as psychological financial hardship occurred more commonly in survivors 65 years and younger (28.4% vs 13.8%; P < .001; 31.9% vs 14.7%; P < .001, respectively).

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According to adjusted analyses, nonwhite women cancer survivors aged 18 to 64 years, who had been treated more recently and had to change or quit their jobs due to their diagnosis were significantly more likely to report hardship.  Younger age was correlated with both more financial and psychological hardship, as was being uninsured, and having more recent treatment.


  1. Yabroff KR, Dowling EC, Guy GP Jr, et al. Financial hardship associated with cancer in the United States: findings from a population-based sample of adult cancer survivors [published online ahead of print December 7, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.62.0468.