Racial Differences Seen in Financial Hardship Among Older Cancer Survivors

Income and area-level disadvantage are the largest contributors to racial differences
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MONDAY, July 1, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Income and area-level disadvantage are the largest contributors to racial differences in financial hardship among older U.S. adults with cancer, according to a study published online June 18 in Cancer.

Elizabeth S. Davis, M.S.P.H., from Boston University, and colleagues conducted a survey to assess financial hardship among older adults diagnosed with cancer. Responses were received from 721 White (84 percent) or Black (16 percent) patients (≥65 years) who were diagnosed with breast (34 percent), prostate (27 percent), lung (17 percent), or colorectal (14 percent) cancer or lymphoma (9 percent) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 2000 and 2019.

The researchers found that Black patients reported lower income (65 versus 34 percent earning <$50,000) and greater scores on the Area Deprivation Index. Compared to White patients, Black patients reported significantly higher rates of overall (39 versus 18 percent), material (29 versus 11 percent), and psychological (27 versus 11 percent) hardship. These characteristics explained roughly half (51 percent) of racial differences in financial hardship among cancer survivors, driven by differences in income (23 percent) and area deprivation (11 percent).

"Future studies should consider not only socioeconomic variables like income but also a combination of race and the regional context of where a patient lives to better understand the downstream effects of structural racism on cancer survivors," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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