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McKesson survey finds 70 percent of Americans would 'forgo' cancer treatment

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 26, 2018
Seventy percent of Americans are willing
to forego cancer treatment, says
nationwide McKesson survey
Seventy percent of Americans are willing to forgo cancer treatment due to cost, fear, distrust or lack of access to care, according to the McKesson Corporation’s nationwide cancer care survey.

Conducted in partnership with Ipsos, the report found that more than 60 percent of Generation Zers (ages 18-24) were willing to avoid treatment due to cost, compared to 50 percent of Millennials (ages 25-37) and 21 percent of those 65 and older. Three-quarters of all respondents indicated that a diagnosis would have a “catastrophic impact” on their finances.

"Americans are clearly in tune with the reality of our healthcare system when it comes to costs," Michael Seiden, president of The US Oncology Network, America's largest network of independent, community-based oncology practices, supported by McKesson, told HCB News. "But the high number of young people who indicated that they would forgo treatment because of finances is concerning. It is important that all individuals who are diagnosed with cancer know that there are usually options and that it is important to have these conversations with your provider. In fact, locally based oncology clinics have reinvented their business models and are evolving to support the financial and physiological needs of patients."

Comprising more than 2,000 participants across the U.S., the sample for the study was drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river sampling”, with standard procedures such as ranking-ratio adjustments used to calibrate respondent characteristics to represent the U.S. population.

The survey recorded cost and insurance coverage as the top factor in whether or not an individual seeks cancer treatment at 77 percent, with 62 percent expressing worry over their ability to afford treatment, if diagnosed. Thirteen percent believed insurance would pay for the entire cost of cancer treatment, if diagnosed, while 42 percent said it would only pay a fraction of treatment. Seven percent had no health insurance.

Nearly half of Americans said they were unconcerned about being diagnosed, however, with close to three quarters confident that they would receive high-quality care if such a situation occurred. In addition, 76 percent showed a positive outlook on good progress made toward a cure, while nearly two-thirds felt that a cure was likely within 50 years.

Women were found to be more cost-conscious than men when it came to selecting a cancer provider or treatment facility, with 42 percent preferring a recommended facility or physician compared to 38 percent of men. Seventy-eight percent also favored opportunity for personal interaction with staff and support of providers compared to 70 percent. In addition, 56 percent of women felt treatment should be close to home, whereas half of men felt the same.

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