Adult Survivors of AYA Cancers May Be More Likely to Experience Medical Financial Hardship

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A new study has found higher rates of medical financial hardship among adult survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers than in adults without a history of cancer in the United States. The research was published by Lu et al in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.   

Experts have known that cancer and its treatment can cause significant financial hardship to cancer survivors and their families. However, the long-term economic implications for adult survivors of AYA cancers were not fully understood.

In this study, investigators used data from the National Health Interview Survey (2010–2018) and analyzed responses from adult (aged > 18 years) survivors of AYA cancers (aged 15–39 at diagnosis) and adults without a cancer history. The study explored the various aspects of financial hardships including material (ability to pay bills), psychological (worries about medical bills), and behavioral (delaying or forgoing medical care) measures. 

Key study findings include:

  • Adult survivors of AYA cancers were more likely than adults without a cancer history to report material and behavioral financial hardship, including problems paying medical bills or delaying or forgoing care because of cost.
  • Adult survivors of AYA cancers were more likely to report a greater intensity of medical financial hardship than their counterparts without a cancer history.
  • Adult survivors of AYA cancers were more likely to report cost-related medication nonadherence, such as skipping medication doses, taking less medication, and delaying filling a prescription to save money. 

As the incidences of AYA cancers increases, understanding the spectrum of medical financial hardship is critical to those caring for and designing policies for adult survivors of AYA cancers, and in guiding ongoing research in this area. 

“Health-care providers can help support increased awareness and assessment of financial hardship, as well as subsequent connection to existing financial and vocational assistance/support services. State and federal policies may have a broader impact through implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act in increasing insurance coverage options, including affordability and accessibility,” said the authors. 

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.