Cancer forces 42% of patients to exhaust life savings in 2 years, study finds

Two years after a cancer diagnosis, 42.4 percent of patients depleted their entire life's savings, according to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration-sponsored Health and Retirement Study. The data, spanning 1998-2014, represented people who were at least 50 years old and newly diagnosed with cancer, minus minor skin cancers.

Researchers assessed how patients' net worth and debt changed two and four years post-diagnosis. The study authors controlled for demographic and clinically related variables, economic factors, mortality, and cancer-specific characteristics.

Across the population, the average patient saw a loss of $92,098. Financial insolvency extended to 38.2 percent after four or more years.

"As large financial burdens have been found to adversely affect access to care and outcomes among cancer patients, the active development of approaches to mitigate these effects among already vulnerable groups remains of key importance," the researchers said.

For the full study, click here.

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