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Prescriptions Too Costly for Many Cancer Survivors

Oct 09, 2017

“Our findings suggest that expansions in health insurance coverage mitigated the effects of growing prescription drug costs to some extent for many individuals with and without a history of cancer,” wrote the study authors.

However, cancer survivors still had higher rates compared to people without a cancer history.

In 2010, 13.8% of cancer survivors could not afford medication during the previous twelve months. This rate had fallen to 8.6% by 2015. But the rates for people without a history of cancer were lower – 11.0% in 2015 and 6.8% in 2015.

Adults age 65 and older appeared to have similar access, regardless of cancer history.

Earlier this year, Kaiser Health News reported that high costs can cause some cancer patients and survivors to put off treatment, take smaller doses of a prescribed drug, or go without medications altogether.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that financial toxicity (financial distress) is a common problem for cancer patients and survivors. The term refers to more than prescriptions. It encompasses insurance copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. It can also include loss of wages and lower earning power due to cancer and its treatment.

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