Rural Americans Face Greater Challenges In Accessing Cancer Care, According To New National Survey
North American Precis Syndicate
Survey shows Americans worry about the cost and the availability of cancer care. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Nearly double the number of Americans in rural areas versus nonrural areas reported having an insufficient number of
cancer doctors near where they live. This is one of the many findings from
the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s second annual
National Cancer Opinion Survey, which was conducted online by The Harris
According to the survey, rural Americans are the most concerned about the
availability of cancer care near where they live:
• Four in 10 rural Americans who have or had cancer say there aren’t
enough doctors specializing in cancer care near their home, compared to 22
percent of urban and suburban patients.
• Rural patients spend an average of 50 minutes traveling one way to
see their cancer doctor, versus 30 minutes for nonrural
• Thirty-six percent of patients in rural areas say they had to
travel too far to see the doctor managing their cancer care versus 19 percent
of nonrural patients.
“The unfortunate reality is that rural Americans routinely have to
travel long distances for cancer care, which can lead to dangerous delays in
their diagnosis and treatment,” said ASCO President Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., FACS, FASCO. “As a result, rural
counties have higher death rates from many common cancers than urban areas.
Our health care system needs to address these disparities so that every
patient, no matter where he or she lives, can access high-quality cancer
The survey also found that Americans from all parts of the country are
worried about the cost of cancer care. If faced with a cancer diagnosis, 57
percent of Americans say they would be most concerned about the financial
impact on their families or about paying for treatment, compared to 54
percent, each, who say they would be most concerned about dying or about
cancer-related pain and suffering.
Even more than patients, family caregivers bear the brunt of the high cost
of cancer treatment:
• Among caregivers responsible for paying for cancer care, nearly
three in four (74 percent) say they’re concerned about affording it.
• More than six in 10 caregivers (61 percent) say they or another
relative has taken an extreme step to help pay for their loved one’s
care, including working extra hours (23 percent), postponing retirement (14
percent), taking on an additional job (13 percent) or selling family
heirlooms (9 percent).
“Patients are right to be concerned about the financial impact of a
cancer diagnosis on their families,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer
Richard L. Schilsky, M.D., FACP, FASCO.
“It’s clear that high treatment costs are taking a serious toll
not only on patients, but also on the people who care for them. If a family
member has been diagnosed with cancer, the sole focus should be on helping
him or her get well. Instead, Americans are worrying about affording treatment,
and in many cases, they’re making serious personal sacrifices to help
pay for their loved ones’ care.”
Despite challenges accessing cancer care due to cost and travel time, the
overwhelming majority of Americans are happy with the cancer care they have
received: Nearly nine in 10 people with cancer believe they have gotten
high-quality care and are satisfied with the quality of the doctors who
specialize in cancer care near where they live (88−89 percent).
The national survey, commissioned by ASCO, was conducted online by The
Harris Poll from July 10−August 10, 2017 among 4,887 U.S. adults ages
18 and older. Of these adults, 1,001 have or had cancer.
Further information is available at www.asco.org;
use search term “National Cancer Opinion Survey.”
““Our health care system
needs to address disparities so that every patient, no matter where he or she
lives, can access high-quality cancer care,” said the American Society of
Clinical Oncology President Monica Bertagnolli,
M.D., FACS, FASCO. http://bit.ly/2quohlx”
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)