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ACS Survey Finds COVID-19 Health Impact Increasing on Patients With Cancer


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An American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) survey of patients with cancer and survivors, conducted in May 2020, focused on COVID-19 effects. Compared with a survey conducted in April 2020, 87% of respondents said the pandemic had affected their health care, up from 51% in the earlier survey. Of those in active treatment, 79% reported delays to their health care (up from 27%), including 17% of patients who reported delays to their cancer therapy. The most commonly reported effects for those in active treatment were changes to in-person cancer provider appointments (57% in May 2020; not asked in April 2020 survey) and delays in access to imaging services (25%, up from 20%) and surgical procedures (15%, up from 8%).

Nearly one in four patients surveyed said the pandemic has made it more difficult to contact providers with questions about health-care needs, and one in five said he/she is worried the cancer could be growing or returning due to delays and interruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other Considerations

Patients are also under significant financial strain, and 46% of respondents to the May 2020 survey said the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their financial situation and ability to pay for care in some way (up from 38% in the April survey). Further, nearly one-quarter  (23%) of respondents said they worry they may lose their health insurance due to the pandemic and its effects on the economy.

Although a majority of respondents said they are sheltering in place, 18% said they were working outside the home, including 11% of those still in active treatment. More than one-third (34%) of patients said they are anxious the pandemic will make it difficult to afford basic household expenses, concerns that are especially prevalent among lower-income patients, with more than half (54%) of those earning $30,000 or less reporting they are worried about affording essentials like rent, food, and utilities.

A full polling memo can be found at https://bit.ly/3d4n8aR.

 


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