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Thomson Reuters Survey Finds Cancer Patients Forgoing Treatment Because of Cost


25 Percent of Late-Stage Patients Earning Under $40,000 Annually Say They Have Chosen Not to Undergo Recommended Care

Ann Arbor, MI .— The Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters today announced the publication of a new research report which analyzes the impact of cost on the cancer treatment decisions of individuals.

Entitled “The Cost of Cancer,” the report aggregates survey responses from 1,767 adults currently being treated for cancer. It finds a clear link between patients’ annual income and their decisions to curb cancer treatments due to cost — even among patients with late-stage cancers.

The report notes that among the 569 survey respondents with late-stage cancer, 12.3 percent said they have passed up recommended treatment because it was too expensive. This figure varies dramatically by patient income level. Twenty-five percent of late-stage cancer patients who earn less than $40,000 a year said they have chosen not to undergo a recommended treatment due to cost — compared with 11.2 percent of those earning between $40,000 and $80,000 per year and 4.8 percent of those earning more than $80,000 annually.

Similarly, 65 percent of all respondents with late-stage cancer said the out-of-pocket cost of treating their cancer has caused them distress. Among all cancer patients earning under $40,000 per year, that number jumps to 77 percent.

“The physical and emotional burden of illness is not the only challenge cancer patients face,” said Bill Marder, PhD, senior vice president and general manager for the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. “Many also struggle to cope with medical costs. This survey shows that the cost of cancer treatment is affecting patients’ ability to get the care they need.”

Data for the report were aggregated using the Thomson Reuters NexProfiler™ Treatment Option Tool to identify and survey patients who are actively being treated for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer or lung cancer. The results are based on the responses of 1,767 adults who completed an online survey in May 2008 (39,882 were invited to participate via e-mail). All results have undergone statistical testing, and all comparisons are significant at the 95-percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.


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