African Americans with cancer more likely to suffer debt, skip treatment when they can’t afford it

October 6, 2016

aacrAfrican Americans battling cancer are more likely than whites to wind up in debt or to forego treatment altogether, according to a new study.

“More than 1.6 million adults are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year, and many face some form of financial hardship related to cancer and cancer treatment, even when they’re insured,” said study author Theresa Hastert, an assistant professor in the department of oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

Researchers looked at the financial strains and stress on cancer survivors of different races. The findings, summarized on the federal government’s HealthFinder website, indicate that 31 percent of the black patients interviewed went into debt compared with 18 percent whites.

African American cancer survivors were also twice as likely to have made some treatment decisions because of cost concerns, including skipping a doctor’s visit and not filling a prescription.

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