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Follow-up treatment still too expensive for young cancer survivors

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Even if they have access to health insurance, 20- to 39-year-old cancer survivors are less likely than older survivors to undergo regular healthcare checkups for this disease that's sometimes detected by blood testing, according to a study published in the journal of the American Cancer Society.

University of Utah researchers drew these findings by looking at a survey of almost 1,000 individuals who developed tumors between the ages of 15 and 34, and had survived at least five years following their diagnoses, compared to a control group of people who had never had cancer. Regardless of their insurance status, recovering cancer patients were almost 70 percent more likely than people in the control group to skip seeing a doctor due to a lack of personal funds.

"[Young cancer survivors] need to be educated about the importance of regular healthcare to monitor for late effects," said Dr. Anne Kirchhoff of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. "Furthermore, even the insured survivors in our study reported unmet healthcare needs due to cost barriers."

The National Cancer Institute reports that approximately 70,000 individuals between 15 and 40 receive bad outcomes from blood testing for tumors in the U.S. every year. The most common forms for young people to develop include lymphoma, leukemia and germ cell tumors like those in testicular cancer patients, according to the organization.

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