Adult cancer survivors under the age of 65 are more likely to alter their use of prescription drugs for financial reasons than are those without a history of cancer, according to a report published online Feb. 20.

Among nonelderly adults, 31.6% of those who had been diagnosed within the previous 2 years and 27.9% of those who had been diagnosed 2 or more years earlier reported a change in prescription drug use for financial reasons, compared with 21.4% of adults without a history of cancer, said Zhiyuan Zheng, PhD , of the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, and his associates (Cancer 2017 Feb 20. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30560 ).

“Specifically, nonelderly cancer survivors were more likely to skip medication, delay filling a prescription, ask their doctor for lower-cost medication, and use alternative therapies for financial reasons, compared with nonelderly individuals without a cancer history,” Ahmedin Jemal, PhD, also of the ACS and the report’s senior author, said in a written statement.

The differences between cancer survivors and those with no cancer history were much smaller for those aged 65 years and over: 24.9% of recent survivors and 21.8% of previous survivors changed their behavior for financial reasons, compared with 20.4% for those with no history of cancer, according to the analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey for 2011-2014.

No funding source for the study was disclosed, and the investigators did not make any disclosures of conflicts of interest.


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