New Study: Financial Hardship Among Cancer Patients Linked to Less Medical Care

A new study based on data gathered by Livestrong shows a link between cancer patients’ debt burden and the level of medical care they receive.

Austin, TX – September 12, 2017 – A new study based on data gathered by Livestrong shows a link between cancer patients’ debt burden and the level of medical care they receive.

In 2016, Matthew Banegas, PhD, and his colleagues used Livestrong data to illustrate the extent of financial hardship for working-age cancer survivors.

In his most recent study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, Banegas and his co-authors used Livestrong data to determine if these financial hardships affect the receipt of medical care.

“These new findings are important because they show that cancer survivors who experience financial hardship are more likely to report that they are not receiving all of the medical care they need,” Banegas said.

The study analyzed responses from 4,321 adults, aged 18 to 64 years-old, who participated in a 2012 Livestrong online survey, and specifically evaluated their answers to the question, “At any time since you were first diagnosed with cancer, did you get all of the medical care, tests, or treatments that you or your doctor believed were necessary?”

Approximately 9 percent of participants reported they did not receive adequate or necessary medical care. Those with over $10,000 in debt were more than three times as likely as those without debt to report lower levels of care.

“Every cancer patient should have access to a full spectrum of care – from medicine to insurance, education and caregiving,” said Livestrong President Greg Lee. “While the findings of this study are alarming, we are grateful for being better informed about the scope of the challenges facing cancer patients in the U.S., so we can better provide support and advocate for equitable access to care.”

About the Livestrong Foundation

The Livestrong Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. For 20 years, Livestrong has been a voice for cancer survivors and has directly served more than 3.5 million people. A pioneer in the field of survivorship, Livestrong remains a world leader in providing direct services to cancer patients and survivors, advocating for policies that enhance survivors’ quality of life and developing partnerships that create access to cancer programs across the country. Since 2007, the Livestrong at the YMCA program has made a return to fitness and wellbeing possible for more than 40,000 survivors in more than 530 YMCA locations across America. Working with The University of Texas’ Dell Medical School, Livestrong is building the Livestrong Cancer Institutes to reinvent and redesign cancer care for and with people affected by cancer. If anyone you know needs cancer support, please visit For more information about our programs and services, please visit

About The Journal of Cancer Survivorship

Cancer survivorship is a worldwide concern. More and more cancer survivors are searching for legitimate sources of health information and educating themselves via the internet. In addition, the research in this area is growing rapidly and requires a forum. Journal of Cancer Survivorship publishes original research on humans (both laboratory and clinical), systematic and meta-analytic literature reviews, clinical investigations and policy-related research that can impact the quality of care and quality of life of adult cancer survivors. The journal presents peer reviewed papers relevant to improving the understanding, prevention, and management of the multiple areas related to adult cancer survivorship that can affect quality of care, longevity, and quality of life.